Facade is... “The face of a building, especially the principal front that looks onto a street or open space”
Having recently moved to a rural area, I am noticing a lot of small churches that have popped up in strip malls.
In fact, with each small town I pass through there seem to be three or four different church ministries that are located in a storefront type of building. It's great to see the repurposing of these former retail spaces!
However, I have noticed that these converted spaces often appears bland, neutral or generally conveys a negative image. Some of the spaces look even look abandoned. In some cases, the storefronts have been taken over by a church who then put up stencils over the existing sign to call the place home.
Some will put up a new sign, but it still looks like a retail outlet. Others who are a bit more creative, will put up new, appropriate signage and even change the look of the of the front of the building with a new entryway or facade.
Whether your church is an established, “old” traditional building or a bare bones store front, curb appeal is an ever so important element in getting new folks to walk thru the door, as well as giving some pride to those regular attenders.
A few years back I worked with a church that was named The Foundry. They purchased a strip mall location and contracted the company I was with at the time to design and build out the space for them.
For the project I brought our lead architect to the strip mall so that he could look at what we could do to give the space more curb appeal.
He did a great job coming up with multiple ideas. These included adding some windows and a covered arching entry way that really brought nice definition to the space and really signified that it was a church. The client liked the concepts he came up with. The ideas were very intune with their church's branding and what they were looking for. Thus began about a week long discussion via email and a couple of sit down brainstorming sessions that led to a very distinctive facade with great curb appeal.
With the name “The Foundry” the church was looking for an industrial feel. One of the committee members had a clear vision for an arched industrial entry that hung out from the building (see photo). Additional industrial arches were placed over the windows. The result was a distinctive look that helped the church stand out from the rest of the strip mall.
The really important lesson here is that the church knew who they were and wanted to convey that message all throughout their marketing and outreach, even including the building. What is the message of your church? What does your facade say about who you are? Is it a time for a face lift?