The Seattle-based firm behind the “church architecture” design style, Church Architecture, is making a splash in the world of architecture with the unveiling of its latest product, a $20,000-a-square-foot building called the “Church of the South,” which it says will be “a center of worship.”
“It’s about creating an identity for the place and celebrating the heritage of the place,” said Church Architect Peter Menn.
“It will have the feeling of a place of worship, not just a church.”
“The design is really interesting, but it’s also the most natural of all the design elements we’ve used so far,” said Menn, who is based in New York City.
“There are some things that have a naturalistic feel, like the windows, the ceiling and the lighting, and others are more like a natural place, like when you see it from the street, the grass is green.”
The Church of the North, which is on a three-acre site on the northwest corner of Second Avenue South and 15th Street North, will house a chapel, an outdoor courtyard, a courtyard with views of the ocean and a prayer room, a space that will have a central space for worship.
The building will have more than 200 residential units, with the majority of them located in the Northside neighborhood, Menn said.
“This is a great project that reflects our vision of how we want to be perceived as an architect company,” said Scott McArthur, Church’s vice president of development.
“We wanted to do something that reflects what Seattle’s been through and what we are doing now.”
Menn has worked with many prominent architects in Seattle, including Frank Gehry and Thomas Heatherwick.
“I’m not really familiar with this kind of design approach, but this was a real attempt at what we were thinking about, and it was very successful,” he said.
Menn will also lead the design team behind the building, which will be built on a 45-foot-by-55-foot site that will be surrounded by a canopy of trees.
The canopy will allow for natural light to filter through and will allow light to be distributed through the interior spaces of the building.
A large open area will be created in the front of the structure for visitors to enjoy a 360-degree view of the exterior.
The interior of the Church of a South will be a large outdoor courtyard and will include a kitchen, dining room and a study, as well as a large room for a private prayer room.
The space will also be accessible from Second Avenue North by walking along the street to the south.
“The idea is to bring the architecture to the street,” Menn told the Herald.
“You can really see that this is the future of architecture, in the form of a church, that is open to the public.”
The building is part of the church-friendly Southside development, which includes a hotel, a community center and a public park, Mann said.
A portion of the construction will be devoted to the construction of a new public library.
“They’re going to be the new community center for the neighborhood,” he added.
The Church will open in 2019.
Menna said the design is still in the design phase, but that it will likely be completed in 2019 and that the building will be ready for occupancy by 2019.
“For this project, we had to work really hard to find that balance between the architectural style and the natural space of the site,” he explained.
“If you look at all the other buildings in the neighborhood, there’s this sense of space and privacy, but you’re also seeing all the traffic.
We wanted to be able to create this space that was kind of open to everybody, with a lot of space for the people who want to come in and take a look at the site.”
The church will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, but Menn noted that the space can accommodate large groups.
“What we want people to do is sit down in a room with a view, and they can enjoy the view,” he told the media.
“But we also want people who come here to feel like they are part of this community.
That’s really what we’re looking for.”
The design will be funded by the Seattle Parks Department, the Washington State Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit Administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Endowment for the Arts.
A website is being set up at churcharchitect.com, where visitors can learn more about the design.
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