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Cape Cod Church: Beauty in Design and Excellence In Process

Cape Cod Church: Beauty in Design and Excellence In Process

Finding the right design partner can result in a truly stunning and efficient facility. Your architect can also be a catalyst to elevate the process for everyone involved. Hear from the architect that led the project for CCC.

An architect realizes vision and mission with brick, mortar and steel. When envisioning your next facility or expansion, choose an architect wisely. Your choice commences a partnership capable of elevating a church project far above the initial scope. Here is a wonderful example of that kind of relationship - where hiring the right design partner resulted in a truly stunning and efficient facility. Hear from the architect that lead the project for CCC..

Glenn Knowles of Glenn Knowles & Associates provided the architectural design for Cape Cod Church(CCC), a facility which was recently featured in our Fall edition of Worship Facilities Magazine. CCC’s design and building process models excellence in many facets. Recently Knowles set aside time to share highlights of their journey.

Worship Facilities: Describe the process of working with CCC, how did you work to translate the feedback and vision of the community into the resulting facility?

Glenn Knowles: CCC desired to be a "City on a Hill" and reach out to those who did not regularly attend church.  To that end, the building needed to be noticeable, interesting, welcoming, and not your typical New England church building. 

They wanted a place for moms to meet during the week, children and youth could hang out, and most importantly, where the larger community could feel welcome. This inclusiveness was the basis of the design. The lobby, café (which is open during the week), and indoor playground, can be seen from the highway through the transparent facade. Three sides of the indoor playground are glass, so parents can sit in comfortable chairs in the lobby and still watch their children.

In addition to athletic fields, there is a planned fitness trail that rings and crisscrosses the site.  Even the fact that the building does not look like a traditional Cape church lends itself to welcoming those who might not otherwise come inside.

WF: CCC did a significant amount of the work themselves.  Did that alter your thoughts in designing the building?

GK: It certainly was a factor, but didn't compromise the integrity of the building design. The acoustic wall panels, for example, were designed so that they could be constructed from readily available materials by workers with basic carpentry skills.  Once a jig was set up to cut the frames, the panels were fairly easy to assemble. Some of the seamstresses in the church wrapped the panels, and other volunteers put the frames together. The panels look wonderful, but it did take a little extra thought about the assembly.

Another significant savings was changing the stadium seating support from steel for large foam blocks.  Volunteers were able to assist in the foam block installation and recognize an overall savings in the $65,000 range.  Those are two examples where the final look of the building did not change at all, but volunteers helped to save a lot of money.

WF: What lessons can other churches learn from the CCC experience both in the design phase and throughout?

GK: CCC was very well organised.  After initial consultations, they delivered a "briefing" binder to me that had the results of their programming questionnaires and a great amount of detail concerning building needs and wish lists.  This preparatory work on their part made for a very good programming document, because it included not only the functional desires, but the missional and visionary goals as well. 

They were also willing to stretch their comfort zone on design concepts.  A lot of work went into value-engineering utilizing design, rather than just wholesale cutting of materials and building features.

One of the best parts about CCC is how much work was self-performed. But the reason it worked so well was that the volunteers were impeccably organized. The church understood the skill sets of the congregation and could call teams to paint, hang drywall, install stadium seating, and even clean up construction debris each night. The congregation had ownership of the building and the cost savings were significant. 

The programming, design based value-engineering, and self-performance took a lot of work, but in the end paid off dramatically.

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