Mountain Christian Church (MCC) is a long-time client, but this project was uniquely challenging - unlike any of the four projects previously completed for them.
The church had been looking for property in Abingdon, MD for a long time to launch their fourth campus, but options were few and far between. Finally, leadership was able to secure space in an office park.
Though the building was in a prime location, it certainly presented challenges. Specifically, the building only had 13 feet of usable height! Having recently completed another project on the other side of the country that also had extremely low usable height, Mankin was up for the challenge! Prior to MCC signing the lease on the space, we worked alongside the church to develop preliminary 3D concepts and very rough budgets so they could make strategic decisions with as much information as possible.
As a result of this exercise, not only did the church feel confident in pulling the trigger on the lease, but all parties were genuinely excited about the potential results. In order to minimize obstructions for sight-lines and audio, we started the design process by developing the room shape, stage details, and seating layout.
The stage was designed so that it would be framed by existing structural columns. LED video side screens flank the stage in such a way as to hide the columns as much as possible. The acoustic plan, designed by Haverstick Designs, was intentionally developed to create a strong balance in performance for both music and speed.
The visuals of the stage were created and designed to emphasize a variety of aesthetics while only relying on a well-formed set of common tools. Multiple "layers" utilize a mix of LED lighting fixtures and a curved low-resolution blow-through LED video wall. Color changing house lighting was also used as an important element to break down the fourth wall from the stage, making the room feel more immersive.
We prebuilt, tested, and pre-commissioned at our HQ in Franklin, TN before loading up and bringing to site for the four week deploy. At the end of the deploy process, the church executed several weeks of training and soft-launch services to ensure everyone was ready for opening Sunday!
This project utilizes Guardian by Mankin's SlipStream service for live message transmission and time-slip playback to the campus from the main campus on Mountain Rd., and Guardian GameFilm for real-time service review among the staff and volunteer teams campus wide. The loudspeaker system for this project is the secret weapon that really made the room what it is. In the early dream phase, we explored multiple loudspeaker design approaches for this space and they all had significant compromises.
Either they were too large and compromised the height of the room to the point of being a deal-breaker, or they created too much potential variation in experience throughout the space to be acceptable. Fortunately, L-Acoustics approached our team with their new Syva loudspeaker system and it was a complete game-changer for this room.
The finished result blends into the space unlike anything else possible, without compromising quality in the least. In fact, our final loudspeaker design with Syva was less expensive than the other approach we were developing with so many compromises.
As churches look to expand their regional presence, one of the most common themes you hear from leadership teams is the consistent challenge of finding workable, affordable real estate. This room's design and execution can be a prototype for churches all across the country to be able to consider an entirely new class of space without compromise.
The experience in this room hits it out of the park in every way. Mankin's core values of collaboration, innovation, and investing in relationships allowed our team to deliver WOW in a way that will provide eternal impact to the community of Abingdon, MD.