Fair Park Baptist Church has been the backbone of Christian worship in the community of West Monroe, La. since 1949. Situated in the heart of the lush Ouachita Parish near the Ouachita River, this traditional, red brick church epitomizes Americana architecture, inside and out.
Building God's Way (BGW), in partnership with S&B Construction, was given the challenge to design and build a modern, 32,000-square-foot worship center addition for Fair Park Baptist Church while maintaining the traditional southern charm of the existing campus.
BGW is a national architectural firm that specializes in churches and Christian education facilities. It designed a building for Fair Park Baptist that not only maintained the look and feel of the original architecture, but also added state-of-the-art features, combining traditional aesthetics with modern design components for a unique and inviting edifice.
Darris Waren, minister of worship at Fair Park Baptist Church and chairman of the Building Committee, says the design was just what his church was looking to achieve. "We were so proud that the architects and contractors worked together to develop a plan that kept the colonial look of the exterior of the facilities, but also gave a more modern feel on the interior," he says. "In addition to meeting our needs for a larger sanctuary and facilities to accommodate growth, it was important for us to create space where groups can come together for fellowship, to share a cup of coffee or engage in Bible study on any day of the week. We want church to be a place where people will want to come throughout the week, not just on Sunday."
Addition (Fair Park Baptist Church)
West Monore, Louisianna
Project Size: 801-2000 seats
Completion Date: May 1, 2014
The hallmark of the new addition was the creation of a contemporarily designed atrium gathering area. The focus of this new atrium was to serve as a "third place" for the congregation, a space that will foster a sense of community and generate more opportunities for social engagement. This new space becomes the central hub of the church, complete with cafe and lounge, open seating, vaulted ceilings and roomy interior and a grand staircase to the mezzanine worship level that provides a breathtaking view of the new sanctuary.
The predominant architectural feature on the exterior of the new addition is a 75-foot prayer tower. This elaborate structure stands as a beacon, welcoming all who see it and features 10 flights of stairs and three primary landings, culminating in a fully glazed, four-sided observation and prayer deck. At the base, the foyer includes hospitality space, access to the suite of office, and conference and green room areas.
The new 1,000-seat worship center features a cutting-edge performing arts design, with stadium-style seating, large performance platform and unobstructed views throughout the entire space. The sanctuary is fully equipped with advanced audio, video and lighting capabilities to deliver a state-of-the-art worship experience. Despite the size, tiered seating blocks offer an intimate setting and superior acoustics along with the AVL functionality make every seat feel like a front-row center experience.