Friday, January 31, 2014

FSF Foto Friday - CrossPointe Church

CrossPointe Church in Madison, Alabama - Major progress has been made!  The glass curtain wall and wood trusses have been installed and look amazing!  Check back for more updates in the future!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church

Master Site Plan



Completed By – Jerry Fountain, Project Architect. (1989)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Project Highlight - Embassy National Bank

Completed:  2008
Square Footage:  12,500 sf
Team:  Jeff Seeley and Kathy Pallansch

FSF had to design this building based on the client's name and reputation as being diplomatic.  They used the masonry facade to do so.  Phase 3 will be underway in the near future.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

Question:  What is the proper term for a small dome-like structure found on top of a building?  Bonus - Name a building in Atlanta that has this structure!


The Top Church Facility Upgrades

By:  Robert C. Foreman, AIA, LEED AP

Smart church leaders understand that buildings are tools for ministry. They know that ministry tools must be kept sharp so the church can carry out the work God has given it to do.  This knowledge has spurred some churches to complete much needed renovations, in spite of a difficult economy.  Even as new construction was forestalled during the recession, churches that desired continued growth went ahead with critical facility improvements.  Recent facility upgrades seem to follow many of the same design trends we have observed in new church buildings during the last decade.  Here are the top five facility upgrades we have seen recently:

  1. TECHNOLOGY & LIGHTING – The top upgrades include new technology.  Churches are improving their sound systems because high quality audio is essential.  If the church is all about the “message,” then hearing the message is critical.  When older churches update their sound systems, they are also adding video systems.  Adding video usually mandates lighting improvements.  Quality platform area lighting and controlled light levels are critical if the worship service is being video recorded, projected on screens, or broadcast to multiple locations.  Churches with large windows and who are adding video are also adding remote controlled motor operated room darkening window shades, and some are even removing decorative chandeliers to improve the visibility of the video screens.

Mountain Park First Baptist Church replaced their audio system, added rear projected video, added new production lighting, enlarged the platform and choir, and added motor operated window shades. 

  1. WORSHIP SPACE – The changing styles of worship are not only promoting technological upgrades, but other significant worship space improvements are often implemented at the same time. Congregations with older style sanctuaries have often found their platform is not well suited for contemporary worship.  Some churches struggle with this problem for years before they decide to do something about it.
Churches that formerly used a piano and an organ to accompany congregational singing now need to create platform space for a band or small orchestra.  A few congregations have downsized or eliminated their choir while using an ensemble group to lead congregational singing.  It is becoming common for churches to use drama and other forms of performance art as part of worship.  Churches with traditional sanctuaries that have introduced more contemporary style worship often decide to enlarge their platform, reconfigure their choir area, and rework their chancel.  This can result in some reduction in overall worship seating capacity.

A few churches have even decided to remove pews and use chairs for congregational seating.  The advantages to chairs include increased effective seating capacity and the flexibility to arrange different seating layouts or set up tables for special conferences or dinners. However, this does not work well with sloped floors.  Some worship spaces with level floors have been reconfigured to allow for recreational and fellowship functions during the week.  While a few older members may find these kinds of changes unsettling, most young members readily accept them.

Hartwell First Baptist Church replaced sanctuary audio, added front projected video, enlarged the platform, replaced original windows, and added room darkening window shades.

  1. GATHERING SPACES – Churches are starting to understand the importance of gathering spaces for informal fellowship.  Gathering areas are not limited to new church buildings.  Small foyers and narrow corridors were the only spaces older churches had available.  Churches that have added more worship services have found that bottlenecks have resulted as people move about between events.  Churches with older buildings are finding ways to reduce bottlenecks and carve out the needed gathering spaces by repurposing underutilized classroom, library, and office areas.
Gathering spaces are much more than just larger foyers.  They serve a vital fellowship function, providing informal places to have a cup of coffee or for friends to meet and talk.  Senior adults may need a place to sit down while waiting for one service to conclude before they enter the worship space for the next service.  Some of these new gathering spaces include coffee shops or book stores and are used extensively during the week.  Growing congregations with older facilities have recognized the vital importance of these multi-purpose gathering areas to the life of the church body, and they are meeting this need by building expansion when adequate existing space is not available for conversion. 

  1. WAYFINDING – Churches have discovered that good signage is a great way to make church facilities more “user friendly.”  Good directional signage starts in the parking lot to help visitors find a place to park and to find their way into your building.  Clearly marked guest parking is one way to help visitors feel welcome.  Well done interior signage should help everyone find their way to each area of your facility.  If your building is an important way to convey your “message,” then good directional signs will help tell your story by providing a positive and welcoming experience to everyone.  Quality signage is one of the most cost effective improvements a church can undertake.
  2. ENERGY SAVINGS – There is clearly a significant trend toward renovations that create more energy efficient buildings.  Improvements resulting in energy savings reflect good stewardship of the church’s resources.  Older buildings, constructed before modern energy codes were implemented, are often inefficient and costly to operate.  Upgrades to windows, insulation, lighting, and mechanical systems can significantly reduce power use, recovering the cost of the improvements in a relatively short time with savings in utility cost.  
An experienced architect can help your church decide if it needs to make any of these upgrades. You should not conclude that your church has to keep up with every new trend.  Each church should decide what is right for their particular situation.  Just because other churches are doing something doesn’t mean you should.  However, you should consider making whatever improvements are needed to be able to properly communicate your message and carry out your ministry.  Buildings are tools for ministry.  Your ministry tools need to be kept sharp so you can accomplish the work God has called you to do.  Do not let your tools get dull!  Smart churches keep their ministry tools sharp by completing the facility improvements needed to enable them to complete their mission.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Myth Buster Monday - Insulation is Insulation is Insulation

Most people believe that any insulation will suffice in their building.  However, this is a myth.  While some is better than none, there are types of insulation that over time lose their potency by deterioration; for example, blown in attic insulation.  Even the smallest of gaps can cause air infiltration and / or leakage.  The best insulation for a building would be continuous or uninterrupted insulation with a building wrap.  Next time you feel chilly or have a heat wave in you building, maybe you should consider having your insulation inspected.  Stop throwing money out the window!  Proper and efficient insulation is relatively cheap and will save you money in the long run!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Inspiration

"Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work." - Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

Friday, January 24, 2014

FSF Foto Friday

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 on the site of the assassination of Alexander II. It was built more as a shrine to Alexander II than a church. However, it was closed during the Bolshevik’s reign and looted. It finally was restored and reopened in 1997. Our very own Jerry Fountain took this picture during his visit in 2011.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Bob Foreman on the Mountain Park First Baptist Church project site in 1987.  Originally posted in the Gwinnett Daily News on July 13, 1987.  Completed in 1988, Mountain Park has decided they are ready for a renovation.  You can see their proposed changes here .

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

FSF Employee Highlight - Teri Huling

How long at FSF:  "10 years"

School attended:  "Southern Polytechnic State University"

Favorite season:  “Summer because of the warm weather and longer days.  I love the outdoors.”

List 3 hobbies:  “Offshore fishing, home renovations, and studying for the Architect Registration Exam.”

Favorite memory as a child:  “At 5 or 6 years old, the day I decided to become an architect.  I gave my God-father a hand drawing and he suggested I become an architect.  I asked what they did and he responded, ‘They draw buildings!’  It sounded like fun…and it is!”

If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be:  “Rome, Italy”

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Facility Condition Assessment - A Check List for a Church Building Check-Up

By:  Robert C. Foreman, AIA, LEED AP

As we age our bodies start to wear out.  As we get older, it is a good idea to get a regular medical check- up.  The same is true for church buildings.  What you do not know about your building could be costly!  A building check up (Facility Condition Assessment) requires expert help.  Here is a check list for a church building check up:

  1. DOCUMENTS - Do you have all building records?  Do you have copies of the plans for each expansion and renovation?  Are all plans, property surveys, deeds, and legal descriptions stored safely, so you can get them when you need them? Scan them to disks and store in a fire proof safe. Valuable records are called “valuable” for good reason.
  2. HISTORY – It is important to know when each building phase was constructed and when the most recent improvements were completed so that you will have some idea of when to schedule upcoming maintenance.
  3. ROOFING – Roofing wears out. What is the age and life expectancy of the roofing?  Do you have adequate funds set aside for roofing replacement?  Should you consider replacement roofing with a longer life expectancy?
  4. HVAC - How well is the air conditioning and heating system working?  What is the age of each major component and when were they last serviced or replaced?  Do you have funds in reserve to replace HVAC equipment as it wears out?  Have you considered an annual maintenance contract?  Does the age of your HVAC system indicate it may be inefficient?  Is it possible that the cost of more efficient equipment could be recovered in a reasonable time if new high efficiency equipment were installed when existing equipment wears out?
  5. ELECTRICAL – What is the condition of the electrical system?  Does it meet code and is it safe?  Do you have old inefficient lighting that could be replaced with much higher efficiency lighting?  One efficiency upgrade being implemented by churches includes retrofitting major building areas with motion sensor light switches so lights are on only in rooms that are occupied.  Could the operational savings pay for these upgrades?  What is the long term return on the investment? 
  6. ENERGY AUDIT – Answers to these HVAC and lighting efficiency questions can be provided by an energy audit.  Having your facility thoroughly inspected by a qualified energy auditor may reveal many potential long term cost efficiencies.  How do current utility costs compare to similar church facilities in your area?
  7. FINISHES - What is the condition of major finishes, such as carpeting, tile and other flooring materials?  What about surfaces which must be regularly painted?  When will these finishes need to be replaced?
  8. RESTROOMS – Are all restrooms clean and are they easy to keep clean and maintain?
  9. WINDOWS & DOORS – Are windows and doors in good condition?  Do older windows have inefficient single pane glass?  Insulated “double pane” glass was first widely used in the 1970s.  After 20 or 30 years, the seal breaks down and an ugly film develops on the inside glass surfaces.  This means the glass is no longer insulating and it is time to reglaze or replace windows.
  10. AUDIO - Is your worship center sound system functioning properly?  Can your people hear, without distortions and echoes?
  11. HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES - Does your building have any dangerous substances present which could harm building users?  What about asbestos?  Lead? Mold?  A testing lab can check for the presence of these toxic materials.
  12. CODES - Are there any building code or life safety problems which could indicate potential hazards to building users?  Are smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and other life safety equipment fully functional?  Have they been tested by qualified inspectors?  If you have a sprinkler system, are you certain it will function properly in case of a fire?
  13. SAFETY PLAN – Is there a building safety plan in place?  Are there contingency plans for major events such as tornados, earthquakes, fire or floods?
  14. STRUCTURE - Is the building in good structural condition? 
  15. SECURITY - Is the building resistant to intruders?  Are preschool and children’s areas safe and secure?  What about the church office area?  Consider having a security expert inspect your facilities and recommend ways to make them safer and more secure.
  16. HVAC SECURITY - Is equipment secure from theft and vandalism?  Churches are easy targets for copper thieves.  Is unsecured HVAC equipment covered by your insurance?
  17. OBSOLESCENCE - Are any of your buildings reaching their normal life expectancy?  Is it time to start thinking about replacing worn out portions of your facility that just do not warrant the cost of continued maintenance?  Does the condition of your facilities make a poor impression on visitors?
  18. SITE - What about the condition of the parking lots, drives, paving and landscaping?  Does the asphalt paving need to be sealed?  Is site lighting fully functional?
  19. SIGN – Is the main building sign attractive?  Is there good directional signage on the site and building interior?  You know your way around.  Are visitors able to find their way?
  20. INSURANCE – If a disaster strikes tomorrow, will property insurance coverage be adequate to replace what is lost?  Does it include flood insurance? 
Just as regular check-up for your body could save your life by detecting problems before they become serious, a building and site check-up could uncover significant and expensive problems.  Taking prompt action could save money and help prolong the life of your facility.  This is just good stewardship.  Well maintained buildings are more attractive and make a better impression than worn out and poorly maintained facilities.  A more efficient facility will have lower operating costs.  Just as you should not attempt to do a medical check up on yourself, you should use an experienced facilities inspector to find and document the facility problems and inefficiencies you will probably miss. 

So how should you find the right building “doctor”?  Be careful!  There are many self proclaimed facility experts out there claiming to know what they are doing. But can you trust them?  Do your homework!  Ask for references and then take the time to call every reference.  A facility inspection should be only be done by experienced and highly qualified professionals.  It also helps if they are experienced with church facilities.  Architects and engineers are trained, licensed and experienced professionals, and are the best quipped facility experts to perform a thorough facility condition inspection and provide a detailed report.  They are also best qualified to help you find the technical specialists to do the necessary work for any needed repairs and maintenance,

A Facility Condition Assessment should provide a complete detailed condition summary of all relevant building and site components and should recommend a maintenance plan and propose solutions to any problems that are uncovered.  The report should also provide the basis for an ongoing maintenance budget.  Churches should never get caught off guard by unexpected maintenance costs.  Do not delay!  Be proactive!  Get a building check-up and take good care of your buildings.

Tuesday Trivia

Question:   Where was this famous Frank Lloyd Wright house designed and built?

Monday, January 20, 2014

 “The difference between a dreamer and a visionary is that a dreamer has his eyes closed and a visionary has his eyes open” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Inspiration

"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it. Plan more than you can do, then do it." - Anonymous

Friday, January 17, 2014

FSF Foto Friday

The Wheeler Wildcat even lurks in the windows of the new school’s lobby!  He makes his appearance early in the morning as students arrive, then he hides!  #wheelerhighschool #wildcat #cobb #marietta

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Lanier Bank & Trust

Lanier Bank & Trust was the first bank for the new firm Foreman Associates completed in 1986.  Project was managed by Bob Foreman and David Woodburn.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We Want to Know!

If you had no restraints, what’s something you would love to see in your workplace?  A super cool slide like in the Just Us Kids office here in Atlanta?  How about a miniature putting course on the roof like in the Google Toronto office?  Or maybe just an area where you could go chill out for a few minutes like in the Juggle Office in Illinois.  Whatever it may be, we want to hear from you!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

Question:  In all Gothic cathedrals, the main axis of the building lines up perfectly with the center of the altar.  True or False?

Bonus - Name the city where this famous cathedral is located.

Does Your Church Building Send the Right Message?

By Robert C. Foreman, AIA, LEED AP

Have you considered the impact of your church building’s architecture?  What message are you communicating via your building?  Until recently, most church architecture was strongly influenced by the desire for religious buildings to support and enhance the worship experience and to make a good overall impression and thereby attract visitors who would become new members. Most importantly, church buildings were designed to glorify God. To better understand these purposes of church architecture, we need to understand that a significant intention of building design is more than just being functional - it is to convey a “message” and to provide an “experience.”

Many different kinds of buildings are designed to tell a story and provide a unique experience. You can always identify a McDonalds or a Chick-fil-A. Most fast food restaurants are designed with a particular look or style. Their building is their sign. They want you to recognize who they are, and they want your visit to be a great experience so that you will want to return. Hopefully, they will make their food as important to your experience as they do their building. The hospitality and entertainment industry understand that a building can deliver a specific experience and this concept can be seen in the everyday world of restaurants, night clubs, hotels, retail stores and museums. When architect John Portman began designing hotels with multi-story atrium lobbies and glass elevators, it changed the hotel industry overnight. When his Hyatt Regency Hotel opened in 1967, visitors to Atlanta came to the hotel so they could ride the glass elevators, experience the 22 story atrium and have lunch in the revolving rooftop restaurant. When Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the building architecture became more important than the art on exhibit. Many people still visit the Guggenheim just to experience Wright’s architectural masterpiece.

Religious architecture has been about message and experience since before the time of the Greek and Roman temples. Even across different cultures and historic styles, religious buildings have always had their own special qualities. The architects who designed the great cathedrals or small county churches traditionally attempted to create a special feeling or experience – a special sense of place and symbolism. More than just a place where certain functions took place, church buildings were designed to convey a simple message: “Here believers worship God.” The interior architecture was deliberately designed to contribute to and enhance the worship experience through an emotional response. Church architecture was intended to point people toward God. Until recently, most congregations of all types and sizes wanted their buildings to be beautiful examples of “church architecture.” They wanted their building to look and feel like a church.

Today, some churches have abandoned this desire in favor of a very plain, austere or utilitarian look. This trend has apparently taken place for many different reasons, including cost considerations and a sincere desire to be practical and to be “good stewards.” Some church congregations simply would rather put their resources into missions and ministries and not into facilities. Others have bought into the idea that more traditional and symbolic buildings may somehow be a “turn off” to the un-churched. However, churches who build so that their building does not look like a church may be sending an unintended message. If the experience of the building is unclear or just very bland, the message may be interpreted as “we have no message.” If a church facility has no symbolic qualities, then what meaning is communicated?  To some observers it becomes just a nondescript place. The “food” may be good but you will never know it by looking at the building. What does your church building say? What do you want it to say?

What happens when the church building no longer contributes a sense of the sacred or does little to provide a feeling of awe or to lift the spirit toward the heavens? A positive answer may be that now the worshiper must experience God from within. If the building does little to convey an emotional experience, then worship must be experienced from the heart. It is often the case that churches that place less emphasis on their building architecture may place much more importance on enhancing the worship experience with audio, video and lighting. The video screen has replaced the stained glass window. This focus on a meaningful worship experience may be very good, but some traditional worshipers may miss the important experiential role played by architecture. If they feel like they are worshiping in a warehouse, their worship experience may not be very satisfactory.  

Today a few churches have chosen to have their buildings designed by the equivalent of Hollywood theme park designers. The building is seen as little more than a production stage or movie studio set. It is all about impressions and nothing is real. Other approaches include designs that are more like “sports arenas” or “performing arts theaters.” In each case the emphasis is on putting on a good show. High tech production and clever lighting effects replace the meaningful and symbolic. I refer to this as the “Disneyfication” of architecture. Fantasy Land replaces the authentic. Is this the right message for the church in a postmodern culture starved for a sense of reality? How does this glorify God?

Is this a trend that will last or just a fad? Will church congregations desire architecture designed to convey a clear message (this is a place of worship) and building interiors that provide an uplifting experience (architecture that enhances worship)? After many years in the practice of architecture, I am convinced that well designed modern church architecture can be as meaningful and symbolic as the historic and traditional forms. It can and should skillfully incorporate technology. Well designed church buildings should convey a clear message and enhance the worship experience, while on a reasonable budget, without resorting to Hollywood gimmicks. Churches do not need to worship in plain boxes or in contrived studio sets. Good design that is functional, authentic and attractive will convey the right message and will not repel the unbeliever. I believe people will continue to be attracted to church architecture that is honest and intentional in its message, meaningful in its experience and which glorifies God.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Myth Buster Monday - Architecture is an Ancient Profession

The profession of being an architect is relatively new.  In ancient times, the mathematicians were the architects.  During the Gothic and Renaissance time, the artists and inventors, such as DaVinci did the architecture duties.  In the 1600-1700's, Gentlemen Architects such as Thomas Jefferson, had the time and money to devote to the design of buildings as a gentleman's hobby.  It wasn't until the mid 1800's that architecture as a profession became a specialization.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Inspiration

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will themselves not be realized.  Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die." - Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912)

Friday, January 10, 2014

FSF Foto Friday - Cathedral de Sal

Business Manager, Morgan Denty visited Colombia last September and was able to visit this wonder of the world.  Catedral de Sal of Zipaquirá, in Cundinamarca Colombia is an underground Roman Catholic church built within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 meters underground in a Halite mountain near the town of Zipaquirá, in Cundinamarca, Colombia.  Weddings and regular weekly services are still held today.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

We Want to Know!

What are your thoughts on the new proposed Braves Stadium in Cobb County?  More than half of FSF employees live in Cobb County.  What does the move mean for us?  #atlanta #braves #bravesmove #marietta #cobb

New Proposed Braves Stadium Pictures

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday Trivia

Question:  The word Architect comes from the Greek word "Arkhitekton".  What is the literal meaning of the Greek term?

Bonus - Name this famous ancient building.

Church Building Design Trends in the 21st Century

By Robert C. Foreman, AIA, LEED AP


Church architecture has undergone major changes in recent years. Church buildings in the 20th century looked and functioned a lot like church buildings of the 19th century. But among the rapidly growing evangelical churches, the look and style of the typical 21st century church building is trending toward something very different. These changes began during the last half of the 20th century and will continue because of a rapidly changing culture.

Cost is a big influence on church design. Traditional architecture and ornate design can be very expensive. Church architecture is becoming simpler and plainer because of tight budgets and the need to build more building for less cost. Even churches that can afford traditional design often choose to put their resources into space and technology rather than tradition.

For many years, church design has trended toward use of multi-purpose space because tight budgets have created the need to find more ways to use the same space for many different functions. The trend has continued with the use of large multi-purpose rooms than serve both for worship and fellowship, and sometimes for educational and recreational activities as well. The most rapidly growing congregations are less inclined to have spaces that are used for only one purpose. This multi-purpose nature of many recent church buildings has impacted the architectural look of these buildings. The “big box” or “warehouse look” that some churches have adopted is partly a result of the multi-purpose trend.

There is also clearly a trend toward “re-purposing” of existing commercial and institutional buildings to serve as church facilities. Warehouses, business park buildings and abandoned retail buildings are being converted into churches. Often the plain exterior appearance is retained, with only the addition of a cross or the name of the church. In other cases, the exterior is “dressed up” to be more “church like.”

For some congregations, the trend toward simpler design is being reinforced by the desire to be more “seeker sensitive.” Their leaders feel that departing from traditional “churchy” buildings, allows their facility to be more appealing to the “unchurched” or the unbeliever. The theory being that stained glass, ornate steeples, pews and the traditional church symbols may discourage some unbelievers from being attracted to Christianity. However, this theory is not without its critics, including a survey conducted by Rainer Research which seems to indicate that many unchurched prefer more traditional church architecture. Some pastors feel that unbelievers are more likely to be influenced by the Christian behavior than by the appearance of their buildings. Even so, some of the most rapidly growing churches have given up traditional architecture, so as not to “turn off” prospective new members. Casual dress and contemporary worship music are part of this trend. In the last half century, the influences of cost, multi-purpose space, and seeker sensitive design, have resulted in many church facilities that are almost indistinguishable from community centers, schools, theaters, or even warehouses.

Worship style is influencing the look and feel of new worship spaces. In many of these churches, the multi-purpose stage is preferred over the traditional chancel or choir loft. The old light filled sanctuary with large windows is giving way to windowless auditoriums with theater seating or movable chairs, high tech lighting and multi-screen video projection systems. Modern audio systems perform better with the “dead” acoustics of a recording studio rather than the more “live” acoustics of the traditional worship space. The pipe organ (or the electronic organ) is no longer the musical instrument of choice. An organ can be very expensive and skilled church organists are becoming a scarce commodity, as fewer people are learning to play the organ.  

The contemporary 21st century church congregation enjoys worshipping with more contemporary music styles, often provided by orchestras or bands which include guitars, drums, keyboards and other electronic instruments. Many churches no longer use a choir, but ensemble vocal groups help lead congregational singing. Congregations follow the words to contemporary and traditional hymns on video screens, rather than follow the music in hymn books. Contemporary worship can take place in traditional spaces, but the trend is toward buildings designed to accommodate the technology and flexibility that go with the contemporary worship style. 

Technology, including elaborate production lighting and audio and video systems, is allowing the church to use its buildings in ways that we could not imagine a few years ago. As buildings become more high tech, the very fabric of the building may be subject to constant change and reinvention to fit the need and function of the moment.

It is not all technology. Growing churches are making concerted efforts to make their facilities more people friendly. The design trend today is away from the limited purpose foyer and toward large multi-purpose gathering spaces that encourage members and guests to meet and greet and have fellowship with one another between events. These gathering spaces serve as a family room where the church family interacts together, and friendships are made and renewed. These spaces are much more than foyers and often include coffee shops, library/media centers, and bookstores. They have become the “third place” for members of the church family, both on Sunday and during the week. The “third place” concept is being incorporated into church life, and growing churches see their “third place” as just as important in the life of the church as worship, fellowship and educational spaces. Some “third place” spaces are connected to “Family Life” or “Wellness” centers, recreational facilities that often include gyms, weight rooms, fitness rooms, rock climbing walls, skate board parks, and many of the features of a well equipped municipal recreation facility.

Other trends influencing the architecture of church buildings include more energy efficient and environmentally sensitive design, the trend toward use of “themed” environments for children and youth, and a trend toward multi-site churches. Another trend is toward the church campus where several different worship services may be held simultaneously. While the mega church was a definite trend toward the end of the 20th century, a more recent trend is toward small home based churches. Churches are people, not buildings. First century believers gathered for worship in the homes of members. Home churches today may be a reaction to the contemporary mega church.  

A new simplified church architecture has emerged from the trend to multi-purpose buildings, lower cost buildings, and contemporary style worship. Around the world, churches will continue to meet in a variety of non-traditional venues. The 21st century church will utilize every possible variety and style of facility imaginable, and the newer expressions of church architecture will likely continue to coexist with traditional design.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Myth Buster Monday - We Only Draw Pictures

Some people believe that architects only draw pretty pictures for a living.  Hollywood has certainly played a role in misunderstanding our profession with Mike Brady (Brady Bunch), Wilbur Post (Me. Ed), and Doug Roberts (Towering Inferno), to name a few.  However, most architects were attracted to the profession by the idea that they would learn to design buildings that would actually get built and then be seen and used by many people.  Design is one thing we do but there are many other tasks that are part of an architect’s job description that many people don’t realize.

Architects consult with our clients to help them obtain various permits for their building, research building materials, review building codes and compliance, help clients find the best site for their project, prepare cost estimates, and provide construction contract administration for a project that has already been designed.  We also help clients with adaptive reuse of older buildings.  FSF is a full service architectural firm that has experienced architects and staff ready and willing to help you in any aspect of your project.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014

FSF Foto Friday

This is our lobby of our building. We have been in our new location at Governors Lake for a year now and are still loving it!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are you following us?

New year, new FSF.  We are taking to social media to inform, share, and intrigue our followers.  Be sure you are one of them!  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  Be on the lookout for our new website coming in the next few weeks!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

FSF wants to wish everyone a Happy New Year!  What are some resolutions you have made for 2014? Learn a new language? Lose weight? Spend more time with your family? Travel somewhere new? We want to know!