The expansion of Appleton Alliance Church (AAC) reflects the church's mission: Connecting people with God and one another. The church's new and renovated spaces encourage those connections, not just through a new worship experience, but also through a sports and fitness facility, exceptional children's spaces and a welcoming "Hub," where people can encourage one another, reinforcing growth in their faith.
When the AAC Building Committee first approached Progressive AE, the committee had a preconceived idea of what this project would be. Through an immersive and intimate pre-design process, however, the architectural design team uncovered new ideas based on stakeholder aspirations for the church. The message that the environment must facilitate conversations and meaningful relationships was heard throughout the interviews, exercises and activities. Each ministry takes a unique approach to fostering relationships and the building design supports each one.
The first engagement people have when they enter the building is with the "Hub," which is akin to a modern narthex familiar, but intentional. It connects the East and West entries, making both site and corridor circulation easy to navigate. Its intuitive way-finding puts newcomers at ease and enables visitors to see all the different ministries offered. Social spaces, both formal and informal, entice people to stop and engage in fellowship.
Expansion (Appleton Alliance Church)
Project Size: 801-2000 seats
Completion Date: June 1, 2013
The new worship auditorium encourages ongoing growth and, by retaining the existing worship venue, the campus can now accommodate up to 2,700 people in simultaneous services. These assembly venues can be combined with the new Hub for use in larger concerts, conferences and banquets. The form and volume of the worship center is perceived from the Hub and serves to begin focusing worshippers on the altar. This focus is reinforced by entrances delivering worshippers to the center of the space, establishing an intimate relationship with the platform and altar.
In addition to the new worship center, this project boasts two specialty spaces: sports and children ministries:
- Sports Ministries Xcel Sports hosts a gymnasium with two full basketball and volleyball courts, an exercise room and weight training area. Sports clinics and exercise classes are open to the public, making the complex a highly effective tool in reaching the surrounding community.
- Children Ministries Discovery Land's larger-than-life tree house is a beacon for children of all ages. This highly interactive, child-centric environment encourages visiting kids to return with friends and family. Age-specific activities make lessons applicable and fun in this wonderfully creative facility.
The new master plan and subsequent expansion were developed to enable balanced growth rather than just in one ministry at a time. The resulting addition embraces the existing spaces and leverages previous capital investments.
Community spaces are made transparent so passersby can see the activity within. The facility is significantly visible to both its surrounding neighborhood as well as a major thoroughfare, Highway 41 that has 40,000 cars that pass by every day. So, care was taken to ensure the building fit into the intimate neighborhood context as well as serving as a broader community resource.