We believe that ministry buildings should provide much more than just a physical space for congregations to gather. They should become dynamic ministry tools that can help ministries reshape their communities and change the world. We believe a ministry is most effective when it is fully immersed in its community and buildings can play a key role in moving a ministry toward this “embedded” identity.
From the earliest stages of design, our church architects focus on helping ministry leaders consider how their new facility can be designed to be a more effective ministry tool that meets the needs of the community, not just on Sundays, but 7 days a week. This includes the idea of merging financially sustainable, for-profit business within church facilities, which has become a hallmark of BGW church building and church remodel projects.
The BGW Charrette
Our design process begins with a unique spin on an age-old architectural exercise called a “charrette”. Unlike typical design methods in which the architect works separately with little “back and forth” input from the owner, this highly collaborative effort takes place over a 3 day period at the church or school site, allowing design solutions to evolve quickly with real-time adaptations by the architect, based on the feedback of key ministry leaders and the local BGW Builder. We have found that this kind of collaboration builds unity and momentum quickly. Clients who have participated in this process with us find it energizing as they think through how they will utilize space to the greatest advantage both now and in the future. Matters that are not entirely clear going into the charrette have a way of becoming more focused as vision and ideas are discussed between all representatives.
Every ministry has a unique DNA and it would be a mistake to assume there is a one-size-fits all design solution for every church. That is why the first day of the charrette is spent listening and asking questions, in order to better understand the precious vision the Lord has given you. We then take all of what we have learned and combine that with our experience and transfer the vision to an architectural design. We spend the next two days critiquing, changing, and updating what we have come up with so the intangible becomes tangible. The visual tools that are created, including floor plans, site plans, elevations and exterior renderings, will help you cast your vision in a powerful way. BGW Architects can also take your preliminary design to the next level with 3D interior renderings and “fly through” animation that can help you generate additional excitement as you launch your fundraising campaign.
The involvement of our local builder partner is also critical during this early stage of design, to help keep projects intact from a cost perspective as we launch ideas and explore solutions. Even the best designers can often go down the road of cost-overrun with little difficulty as ideas and forms begin to emerge in the early stages of design. Builders can play the role of “reason” in an environment that often times requires balance of approach. Following the charrette, BGW Architects and the local BGW Builder work together to develop a preliminary cost estimate, taking into account all potential site costs, fees and other soft costs that could be involved in order to provide the ministry with a realistic financial forecast for the project.