A new Elevation Church building inside IBM's former corporate campus has given new life to Charlotte's University City. The campus design reflects the client's culture and brand. The new facility serves as a prototype for future campuses for the rapidly expanding congregation. The design transforms the way that members worship, both in person and via live feeds around the world, with unique details, a carefully orchestrated flow, and modern AVL approach.
Since the space is leased, the building was designed with adaptability in mind. The auditorium stage sits upon portable platforms on the flat concrete floor to allow flexibility within the space for worship concerts or community events. The space will easily accommodate future tenant uses, should the client decide to relocate.
The steel-frame structure is clad with precast concrete, metal panels, and aluminum window systems. The prominent entry, sheltered by bright orange metal canopies reinforcing the church's culture and branding, features expansive glass and feels open and welcoming. The massive scale of the auditorium volume is reduced with careful articulation; white aluminum elements suggestive of church windows give the building a more human scale as members approach the entrance.
Adaptive Reuse/Renovation (Elevation Church, University City Campus)
Charlotte, North Carolina
Project Size: 801-2000 seats
Completion Date: April 1, 2015
Two glass-enclosed entry volumes accommodate visitors entering from the parking fields on each side of the building lobby. Each entry volume is illuminated with 50 small pendant light fixtures for visual impact. As night falls, these lights transform each entry into a beacon to welcome the congregation and also serve a symbol of the church's mission projecting outward. In the expansive open-ceiling lobby, a dynamically-arranged suspended perforated metal panel "cloud" enlivens the space and draws the eye upward. The brightly-colored orange, red, and yellow panels create a gentle sense of enclosure within the large space, also adding acoustical value while creating a more congenial guest experience. Interspersed pendant lights that echo the effect at the entry volumes illuminate the area. Polished concrete floors provide an "industrial chic" aesthetic that contrasts with the sleek glass and metal lobby details, reflecting the pendant lights and brightening the space.
A welcoming "Orange Room" dedicated to first-time guests provides a welcoming space. The glass-enclosed room with a transparent orange band creates an identifiable and energetic space in which newcomers can talk with members and learn more about the church.
Abundant natural light in both the lobby and classrooms creates a sense of connection to the outdoors, while integrated lobby screens carry the worship experience into the lobby. The leased 38,000-square-foot space houses a 1,200-seat auditorium, a backstage AVL room, a green room, grand lobby, volunteer support headquarters, and administrative offices.
Education space for the congregation's "eKids" experience features two large performance theaters and dedicated classrooms. Kid-friendly bright colored walls and signage make wayfinding easy; classrooms are color-coded and filled with natural light.