church facility for Senda de Bendicion , three times the size of its original .
Housed within a 40-unit affordable housing building , the church portion of the project consists of 6,745 square feet of worship and support space , located in the basement and first floor . The below-grade areas include a fellowship hall , kitchen with pantry , as well as mechanical and storage spaces for Senda de Bendicion . The first floor includes the sanctuary and narthex as well as the pastor ’ s offices and other administrative and support spaces . The overall building is tracking to meet or exceed LEED Gold certification .
For Senda de Bendicion , this means brand new facilities — including a state-of-the-art audiovisual room — and foot traffic from the building ’ s residents that point to a larger , stronger community .
To integrate the church into its surroundings , we designed the main sanctuary using a simple white box as inspiration . The partí presents a large , bright , inviting room used not only for services but also for meetings or other community events . To achieve this , the sanctuary is fitted out with two foundational components in mind : a flat floor and a stage . Also featuring abundant windows and a flat ceiling , this versatile space can be used for dance and other performances , and it can be rented out to other groups and religious organizations when the Senda community is not utilizing it .
In addition to the main sanctuary , we also designed a fellowship hall on the lower level , replete with its own entrance , which is adjacent to the community room of the residential building . In this way , the church also enjoys access to additional square footage should it need to expand . Additionally , the designed facility includes a technologically advanced audiovisual room to serve as a recording studio for the two main rooms situated right off the main sanctuary . This room also features a viewing panel into the main sanctuary .
The value of this redevelopment plan for Senda de Bendicion has been twofold : Not only has the congregation benefited from larger , upgraded facilities ; it can also leverage these spaces to offer events and services that could invite newcomers to join them and help them grow .
Without raising a dime , the church generated a turnkey project that has secured their future for years to come .
A residential mixed-use project such as Senda is just one way that churches can partner with developers to grow . Commercial mixed-use projects hold much potential as well , allowing churches , synagogues , and mosques to transform parts of their facilities into revenue-generating concepts like co-working spaces , workshops for local artisans , or even community yoga or dance studios . One Catholic church in Zimbabwe created a state-of-the-art studio that it rents out to both gospel and secular musicians . If church leaders can think creatively , the possibilities are endless .
Union Baptist Church : Creating Forward-Thinking Facilities
Located in White Plains , New York , Union Baptist Church offers an example of a stand-alone church equipped with the necessary infrastructure to expand its community offerings and adapt to future needs .
The new addition at Union Baptist Church provides accessibility throughout the church campus ’ s buildings . Photo : Courtesy of Body-Lawson Associates
18 SACRED PLACES • WINTER 2021