Preserve the Legacy, Respect the Details
Until now this series, “Revitalize and Transform the Church on Main,” has focused on modifying the design of early to mid-century churches to make them more effective ministry tools for today’s culture.
There is a danger in taking this too far. The churches we’ve been discussing have been in existence anywhere from 60 to over 100 years. It’s not just the building, which is a feat in itself, but more importantly it’s a congregation. It’s a body of people who have built and sustained their church through many ups and downs. This rich history and legacy must not be lost in updates to the physical building.
Announce the Vision and Values and Honor those who preceded us
When church leadership embarks on a revitalization project—a transformational journey for their aged but well cared for and beloved building—we regularly hear at the beginning of our design process that they don’t want to lose the grandeur of the elegant architecture. It’s a testament to the people who created and maintained a magnificent and significant structure.
I believe there is an obligation by the architects and engineers who creatively shape the building improvements to respect and honor the finely crafted stone work, stained glass and ornate woodwork that is of the past. This is a cornerstone of our philosophy.
New contemporary chancel wall integrated with the Sanctuary’s grand architecture.
So how do we take today’s construction materials to create a design that serves and resonates with current and future generations, while embodying and respecting the elegance of yesterday’s grand architecture?
Neither the funding nor skills are available to imitate the grand style in turn of the century churches, nor should we try to imitate. Instead, let’s harmonize the new design and detailing with the old. Not by ill-mannered intruding, but by giving a respectful nod to the building’s grand elements with clean forms and crisp detailing. The end result is a non-competitive blend of new and old.
What makes these spaces elegant is the refinement and care taken to assemble and combine materials. As it was done originally to make churches grand, it’s done today to reinvigorate their missional and outreach value.
In my concluding post for this series, I’ll discuss the importance of making community outreach more visible.
· Revitalize and Transform the Church on Main
· This Isn’t My Grandfather’s Church!
· Where’s the Front Door?
· Make Community Outreach Visible to the CommunityTagged: transformation