WFX Exhibitor,HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA) has been leading new directions in worship facilities with several recent projects that address the unique needs of their diverse faith communities and visions for the future.
Through a close interaction with the faith communities and broader community context, HGA has explored architectural expressions that deeply reflect the histories and beliefs of each faith community while embracing modern approaches to worship, learning, and living.
For Temple Israel in Minneapolis, HGA and Temple leadership facilitated surveys, workshops and listening sessions with congregants and community members to plan a 33,260-square-foot renovation and expansion that demonstrates the synagogue's renewed commitment to its diverse urban neighborhood.
"People experience design in different waysnot unlike religious faith," said Joan M. Soranno, FAIA, Design Principal. "I never want to force a specific interpretation. But before working on a religious or cultural project, I immerse myself in art, stories, symbols and even iconography that's related. Elements of that get reflectedthough never literallyin the architecture."
To meet the programming needs, HGA added an early childhood education wing, expanded a 7,000-square-foot lobby with dramatic oak latticework, and created a secured outdoor multipurpose courtyard with seasonal plantings. The addition's buff exterior limestone blends with the Temple's original limestone, projecting a sense of solidity to the surrounding residential neighborhood.
"We finally have a beautiful space where we can gather as a community and welcome people from all faiths," says Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, the Alvin & June Perlman Senior Rabbinic Chair at Temple Israel. "This building is an affirmation of our decision to stay in the city and engage with the wider community. We want this to be a thriving and vibrant place, and our building is a sign of our investment in the community."
For Countryside Community Church (United Church of Christ) in Omaha, HGA worked with the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska and the Tri-Faith Initiative to plan a Christian church that integrates on a single campus with a Jewish temple and Muslim mosque.
Constructed on a sloping site, the two-story church features two primary masses that include a narthex, sanctuary, chapel, and coffee shop.
The south mass is a long narrow form housing the K-6 education center (whose rooms also serve as Sunday School classrooms); and a Community Cupboard (a food shelf), offices, meeting rooms and education activity rooms. These all make up the main and lower levels of the south mass.
The north mass is demarcated by two roofs that pop up: one for the sanctuary, the other for the chapel. The lower level of the north mass houses Memorial Hall for social gatherings (which can seat 300 at tables), a commons area, kitchen, columbarium, and meeting rooms.
When the church is completed in 2018, the Tri-Faith Initiative will be among the first in the world to bring three Abrahamic faith groups together on one campus, with the commitment to practicing respect, acceptance, and trust.
Finally, for the Church of the Resurrection (COR) in Leawood, Kansas, HGA designed a new, permanent sanctuary for the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States.
To expand the church's existing facility on a 76-acre suburban site, HGA designed a 144,960-square-foot building with a majestic sanctuary for 3,500 worshippers that includes 21st century multimedia and theatrical lighting capabilities.
The exterior includes a series of seven stainless-steel "sails" inspired by the seven days of Holy Week, which beckon worshippers while creating the cathedral-like volume inside.
Prominently, a 93-foot-wide, 35-foot tall Resurrection Window features more than 5,000 pieces of painted, fused, etched and glazed glass installed above a 14-foot-tall, 93-foot-wide video display. The window and LED display are flanked by 15-foot-wide, 60-foot-tall aluminum panels fabricated with a vine motif to reflect the Resurrection Window’s garden theme and allow sound from the organ speakers they conceal to flood the sanctuary.
Since opening in March 2017, the church has become a landmark for congregants, visitors and passersby who are drawn by its illuminated Resurrection Window and inviting sanctuary as a place for worship and celebration.