Small Foot Print, Big Impact

The Crossing, Chesterfield Missouri

Small Foot Print, Big Impact
Credit: Photos courtesy of IDIBRI
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Even in the early days of planning the new worship center for the Chesterfield, Mo., campus of The Crossing, church leadership knew that a large auditorium was never going to be part of their strategy. “We had made a shift realizing we were going to build only to a certain size. We wanted to keep the space intimate enough that IMAG [image magnification video] wasn’t needed,” says Art Kuiper, director of operations for The Crossing.

A small footprint for the main worship center aligns with the church’s multi-site strategy to use resources to pour into local communities. “If people are driving long distances, they aren’t able to invite their friends,” says Kuiper. “As a board we’re com mitted to being local and in the community, which has energized our people.”

Choose Your Experience
A focus on small and local drove the design of the room. To achieve a space with a high sense of community, large pivoting doors open the wall so people flow into the room and are immediately immersed in the environment. The asymmetrical 1200- seat worship space allows congregants to self-select different experiences depending on where they sit in the room. The space’s visual focus is on connection between the people in the room to each other and to the platform.

“Architecture is a high value for us,” adds Kuiper. “We want a space that makes people feel welcome, at ease and part of a community, even if they have never set foot in a church before. We also want it to engage people by reflecting the incredible creativity of our God.”

“I was particularly surprised at how intimate the main room felt when it was complete. It’s easy to forget there are 1,200 seats in there,” says Toby Heddinhaus of Gray Design Group of St. Louis, Mo., who led the architectural team. “The Crossing has an amazing core team of leadership that has stayed true to their vision and an ‘ancient future’ aesthetic. This vision carries through all of the church’s expansions and multi-sites.”

Collaborative Planning
For a church with a core mission for people, the design process needed to be highly collaborative. The Crossing met with Idibri in Addison, Texas — who provided the theatre design, acoustics and audio, video and lighting design for the project. The group met to rapid prototype the design of the room. Rapid prototype is a process where all the decision makers meet together and design in real-time. It allows concepts to be tested and either discarded or developed quickly. There is a visual component to the process so clients can react to what they see.

 




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