Discussions to Have When Hiring an Architect for Your Church

Designing and building a church involves many conversations before the project can begin. Not only are churches places of worship, but they are also central to a community’s life both socially and spiritually. From infants being baptized, marriage ceremonies, and funerals, many important moments in life happen in a church. Many ministries utilize the church to serve the less fortunate, to nurture youth, and to provide gathering places for the local community.

When considering an architect for your church, these discussions can help solidify which direction and decisions should be pursued:

1.) Current and Future Facility Use and Needs

Understanding the current and future needs and use of your church facility will help determine the best plan to meet the architectural requirements of the congregation. Just as churches are meant to grow and adjust to a congregation’s growth, a place of worship can have room for growth and change planned into the design of the building.

When hiring an architect for your church, you will want to communicate the history of your church, current needs, and future/anticipated needs. Does a congregation require new construction, addition, or restoration of their church building? What will various spaces be used for? Additional aspects to consider are parking space, storage space, and security.

2.) Planning for uninterrupted services and programs

While it can be a challenge to continue all church activities, functions, and services throughout the building process, a good architect will help plan for the least amount of disruption throughout the entire design and/or build process. Through forethought and planning, an architect can create a construction schedule and manage workflow so that church services, functions, and ministries can continue to operate while a project is going on.

3.) Cost

Discussing the cost of new construction, addition, and/or renovation is a given, but there can be many factors specific to a church project with hidden costs. Not only is a building being designed, but the supporting components can include audio/visual, parking, kitchen, nursery, and educational areas are all additional spaces that can be tailored to the needs of the congregation.

Good stewardship of your congregation’s budget should be a high priority so that the investment in the church building will meet both the short and long term goals of your church. Taking the time to plan out the budget for the planning, design, and construction processes will help lay a solid foundation for the entire project.

4.) What’s the plan for storage?

From seasonal décor to choir robes, tables, and chairs in the fellowship room to the myriad of supplies needed by religious education teachers, storage in churches is of the utmost importance. Will classes share storage rooms? Will there be cold storage for food items in the fellowship hall? Understanding how much (and it will be a lot!) storage is required, along with secure access to it, is a priority.

5.) What’s the plan for accessibility?

Accessibility includes more than just wheelchair access. It also means being able to get to the fellowship hall via a lift or an elevator if it is on the lower floor, wide aisles in the sanctuary, a ramp on the podium, and a private family room for new parents that want to nurse while still hearing or seeing the sermon.

People of all ages have specific needs, so having a good plan for both young and old sets up your church for success. Even something as simple as restroom layout can make a huge difference in the accessibility for church members. Additional considerations involve design that can suit the needs of people with hearing or visual impairment.

Ross Schonder Sterzinger Cupcheck P.C. (RSSC) Architecture is a firm with experience in designing churches for many different faiths.

We understand that essential nuances are central to your faith, and we enjoy adding to our knowledge about each practice so we can best serve your needs. Contact us today to learn more.