Posted in projects on November 25, 2014 3:47 pm EST

Pointe of Connection

Houston's Studio Red Architects designs a student space as campus cornerstone at River Pointe Church in Richmond, Texas.

River Pointe Church, Richmond, TX











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TAGS: architecture, church, community, design, feature, project, youth,


By Carolyn Heinze

One is hard-pressed to find a church that doesn’t place great value on its youth. There are far fewer churches, however, who have the resources and opportunity to demonstrate this by making their youth building the centerpiece of their campus. When the leadership at River Pointe Church in Richmond, Texas, realized they could do just that, they jumped at the occasion.

"We wanted vibrant colors that are more mature, instead of just adding some color for color’s sake. These colors are really organic and warm, and easy to relate to."

—Trung Doan, AIA, Founding Partner, Studio Red Architects, Houston, TX

Founded in 1996 by Patrick and Lisa Kelley, River Pointe grew from a church that conducted services in the couple’s living room to one of the country’s largest portable churches, with a fleet of five 48-foot trailers used for hauling equipment each week. After worshipping in several high schools, the church found its permanent home in 2005 on a 96-acre site in Richmond. Today, River Pointe is comprised of more than 4,000 members and an additional satellite location in Missouri City, Texas. When the church embarked on a master-planning project for its Richmond site several years ago, it turned to Studio Red Architects based in Houston.

Setting Priorities

The initial stages of the master plan originally called for the construction of a chapel, but this endeavor was postponed when it became clear that River Pointe’s growing student ministry needed a space of its own. In fact, the church’s youth were such a core element of River Pointe that not only did its leadership want a dedicated student facility—they wanted it to be the focal point of the entire master plan.

Among the biggest goals that River Pointe laid out for Studio Red was the church’s desire to create a welcoming, non-threatening space. But what did that mean? “It means creating a building that is non-institutional, that is inspired and encourages pedestrian-friendliness, that is very warm and compatible to the current campus, but also [amenable] to future expansion,” explains Trung Doan, AIA, founding partner at Studio Red. The existing campus already housed a main worship center and several ancillary facilities, and while the student building would be new, it also had to fit in with what was already on site.  continued >>