Posted in projects on August 1, 2017 10:43 am EDT

Award-Winning North Carolina Church Engages Urbanites

Harmony in design and mission helps Raleigh architectural firm garner design awards for downtown satellite campus.

Church on Morgan, Raleigh, N.C. Images courtesy of in situ studio.











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TAGS: architectural design, community connection, design award, materials, multisite, satellite campus,


By Erica Cottrill

The architects’ greatest challenge was to bring together a multi-purpose complex of four buildings built between 1905 and 1986 as one setting.

As churches become more integrated with their communities, they offer versatile ways for people to participate. Church on Morgan (a satellite of Edenton Street United Methodist Church) in downtown Raleigh, N.C., is one of those venues, promoting entrepreneurship and surrounding areas defined by local artists, restaurants, outdoor festivals, and a young urban demographic. “Located in the heart of downtown Raleigh as a satellite campus of a larger historic church, it is surrounded by creative spaces infusing energy into the downtown area,” notes Matthew Griffith, principal of in situ studio and senior architect for the project.

The firm’s work earned in situ studio a 2016 AIA NC Merit Award and a 2016 City of Raleigh Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Historic Preservation and Rehabilitation for its work on the Church on Morgan.

The new amalgamated church—which took roughly two years to design and build—is a thriving part of Raleigh’s community, hosting functions from TED Talks to weddings, pop-up food vendors to tech events. “The church and surrounding community is a place where residents can live, work and play,” reports Campus Pastor Justin Morgan. “We are in an increasingly dense urban area, hyper-focused on the seven blocks that surround us, in a walkable, livable urban setting.”

Smart and efficient design

In 2015, Edenton Street United Methodist Church launched Church on Morgan, undergirded by a rich history beginning in 1811. Today, the new church launch enhances the community with its character, environment, and entrepreneurial mission, as an extension of the Edenton Street United Methodist Church. “The concept was to customize the space for a growing demographic, groups that have historically been underserved by the community,” notes Griffith.

The architects’ greatest challenge was to bring together a multi-purpose complex of four buildings built between 1905 and 1986 as one setting. Over the years repeated renovation resulted in a circuitous maze of hallways, offices and inaccessible spaces. It now has a single pronounced point of entry, with fellowship rooms indoors and out and an accessible route throughout the entire complex.

Passion for the past, vision for the future

Griffith’s team designed the church as a marriage of modern and traditional, creating a space comfortable for everyone. The ADA-compliant church is low, flat and open on all sides, featuring a plethora of windows that allow people the opportunity to view the inside from outdoors, which plays a major role in the whimsical impression a worshipper experiences.

The boutique design features a garden space, gorgeous wood trusses that support the roof, and the glass entry vestibule that is the main entrance, connecting the fellowship space to the sanctuary. “We started with 150 parishioners,” says Morgan, “and now attract more than 500 parishioners who worship every Sunday.”

[Editor's note: This story was originally posted on 1.24.17.]





Learn more about the companies in this story:

in situ studio


Church on Morgan



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