Posted in projects
on May 4, 2017 1:20 pm EDT
Texas Church Renovation Takes Sight & Sound to Heart
Fort Worth-based Electro Acoustics teams up with Scott Martsolf Architecture to help First Christian Church of Plano reach out to the next generation without losing the current one.
First Christian Church of Plano, Texas. Images courtesy of Electro Acoustics.
The First Christian Church (FCC) of Plano, Texas, wanted to reach out to the next generation while keeping true to the tastes of the prior generation. A blessing and a curse in the FCC renovation was the stunningly beautiful sanctuary, complete with pipe organ and acoustical properties that supported acoustic traditional worship.Back-story & solutions
Five years ago, Plano FCC called on Fort Worth-based Electro Acoustics for a sound system upgrade in the sanctuary. The upgrade made a substantial improvement in speech clarity, but now the church had a huge challenge for Electro Acoustics. The church had hired a contemporary worship leader and started a new contemporary service in a small and acoustically poor fellowship hall. This new service had grown and the church leadership felt the church was being divided. Their challenge to Electro Acoustics was -- can you modify the existing sanctuary to accommodate the contemporary service without degrading the pristine architectural elements they so love?
Although a well-designed and beautiful sanctuary for 30 years, the existing space offered some severe constraints to contemporary worship. The available working stage space was almost non-existent because of rails surrounding the choir, piano and organ. In addition, there was a massive communion table and fixed pulpit and lectern. The only working space on the stage was a small pathway around the table. Additionally, the beautiful stain glass provided very high ambient light that was detrimental to video and theatrical lighting.
Electro Acoustics teamed up with Fort Worth architect Scott Martsolf and general contractor FPI Builders. As a team, they researched the existing space and developed concepts for the church’s consideration. This design team was able to provide a complete package of design, budget development and execution in a very tight time frame while allowing the church to continue weekly worship.
Scott Martsolf Architecture developed a much larger single level stage design with exceptionally clean lines.
Scott Martsolf Architecture developed a much larger single level stage design with exceptionally clean lines. The table was relocated on the floor in front of the stage and the carpeted stage was replaced with beautiful oak wood floors. The organ console was relocated to the stage left area and recessed to provide excellent sight lines for the new Absen direct view LED screens.
A major concern was finding a way to install the video screens without them looking “stuck-on.” After much deliberation, it was determined that the gypboard wall below the organ pipes could be extended and the video screens recessed into the walls. This decision had a substantial impact on the success of the project and provided a solution to the high ambient natural light.
The previous sound system renovation by Electro Acoustics was still excellent and only new controls (in the form of a Yamaha digital console) and additional stage jacks were necessary. The old control location was in an enclosed booth preventing the operator from being able to make meaningful adjustments. The new location was in the front of the balcony providing perfect sight lines and the ability to hear the live sound. A new console desk was provided with room for the audio console, video equipment, and future lighting console.
The result of this effort is a delighted customer and a unified church that can worship together. Plano FCC can now reach out to the next generation and the current generation is delighted with the architectural improvements.