SFS Architecture

Stories

SFS Architecture Discusses Its Work On Churches

Almost everyone in the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan area has seen the gold-covered dome over the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The oldest standing building on Quality Hill, the iconic landmark is the site of ongoing renovations. Intimately involved with the project over the years, SFS Architecture principal Marsha Hoffman told KMBZ that religious architecture is “an exciting project type that we really love working on.”

The firm has worked with more than 60 congregations and parishes in the region on projects that have included restoration, renovation and additions from worship spaces and fellowship gathering spaces to classrooms.

Other well-known projects include Atonement Lutheran Church on Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas and First Bible Baptist in Blue Springs, Missouri where it is working on a new children’s center.
Also noteworthy is the work SFS Architecture has been involved in on the Christ Lutheran Church and Education Center in Overland Park which is known for its beautiful commons area and gorgeous courtyard for group gatherings.

As the backbone of our communities, religious facilities play a crucial role in keeping people connected to their faith and the people they worship with. The facilities design and structure can add a lot to the experience.

Depending on the specific faith and location, tastes and demands are entirely different. “Every church, every congregation is different and their mission, values and needs vary greatly. We are starting every project with a clean slate even though we’ve done a variety of related projects,” said Hoffman.

These facilities serve many people so they raise funds for every project. Hoffman said “we have to make sure we’ve provided something that they feel is a good value, represents good stewardship of their money and fulfills their needs.”

A lot of people think of a church as a sanctuary where you pray but churches are much more than just places where you pray. They provide education and gathering places for the community.
Hoffman told KMBZ it’s important to leave room for expansion because all the money might not be there to do all the work at once.

SFS Architecture starts with a master planning process that looks ahead over a long period of time. So in master planning, it evaluates the existing facility, considers missions and goals as well as space needs, what the facility is lacking now and what repairs and maintenance need to be completed over time. “We work through all those things than start looking at conceptual design alternatives making sure that we are planning long term,” she said.

Part of the process involves bringing church groups together with the architects by holding large workshops with congregations just to get one on one input. This allows her team to resolve issues early in the planning phase and it’s a “good time to learn about your parish and the congregation and what needs to be done that isn’t even necessarily related to architecture to improve the experience. “

To listen: SFS Discusses Work on Churches

Andrew Ellenberg, KMBZ Move Series | August 6, 2016