DESIGNER COLUMNS & BLOGS / Architecture Is Fun

Posted in Architecture Is Fun on June 11, 2015 10:56 am EDT

A Promised Land for Kids: Part I

Designers describe an especially promising, and stalled, children's church project -- as well as the outlook that propels them forward to new challenges.









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TAGS: business, children's ministry space, collaboration, interior design,


By Peter Exley, FAIA, and Sharon Exley, MAAE, ASID

Artwork courtesy of Architecture Is Fun.

In 2005, we began our work with the Turnpoint Apostolic Church in Groveport, Ohio. Our shared goal was to envision a new family-centric space for the church, providing an 11,000-square-foot addition filled with play, performance and prayer. An expanded, invigorated children’s ministry could be welcome relief in a region where 16% of families are living below the poverty line.

Working closely with Pastor Joseph Arata and Children’s Ministry Director Cara Arata, we envisioned Bible Boulevard as a public space, family thoroughfare and way-finding spine that would become the heart of an ambitious family ministry. A giant super-graphic, "In the Beginning" (reminiscent of the opening credits from an iconic movie featuring Luke Skywalker), was the entry portal for the space, which highlighted scripture while providing dramatic imagery and welcome.

The church and design team brainstormed other ideas to populate the public space landscape with imaginative and interactive street furniture; Prayer and Play Telephones, for instance, that provided snippets of Biblical tales or featured seasonal messaging.

The core element in the new children’s ministry was to be "The Promised Land Play Stage," a variant of a passion play, that would turn performance into public space and playground. All throughout Turnpoint’s new children’s ministry, there would be room for children to discover their gifts in space that was relevant and well received. Passion and performance critical to the church’s teachings were to be nurtured here. Our favorite design element of all was to be "The Heavenly Hangout," a curved canopy, where children could gain a bird’s eye perspective on action at the stage below.  continued >>