Along with the new signature 65’ tall bell tower, the additions and alterations to the existing 50 year old sanctuary will create a more welcoming “front porch” environment, reaching out to the surrounding residential neighborhoods. Inside the tower, a chapel-like space will house a 96 niche columbarium with room for future expansion of an additional 126 niches. New landscaping and low brick walls provide an articulated edge and safety buffer between the pedestrian plaza and the adjacent vehicular traffic.
The tower design rejuvenates the mid-century modern sanctuary design while its location adjacent the new fellowship plaza is spatially reminiscent of the timeless grouping of the Italian duomo, campanile and piazza (church, tower and plaza).
This portion of the multi-phased project is currently unbuilt, but remains a capital campaign focus of the congregation to complete in the near future.
Following the Master Plan, a failing building at the center of the campus was demolished in 2009. This space makes way for the future bell tower and large Fellowship Plaza. The brick pavers of the plaza depict “Luther’s Rose” and will available to be engraved with the names of Grace Church and School families, friends and loved ones.
The first phase of the project was completed in 2014. The columbarium (92 niches) with polished granite faces and concrete capstone was designed with finishes and details to correlate with the existing campus architecture. Along with the small memorial garden, the columbarium is located along the chapel wall and between its stained-glass windows providing a graceful backdrop. Benches allow parishioners, friends and family to spend time reflecting toward the garden or partake in fellowship with others in the adjacent renovated stone patio.
Over the life of the congregation, the church had purchased adjacent residential properties to allow the expansion of programs and provide additional parking. This has typically occurred through a parcel by parcel approach without any specific direction in a formal planning sense.
Through meetings with multiple stakeholder groups from both the church and school, STA analyzed valuable feedback and direction was provided towards developing the final unanimously approved plan. The plan justified the goal to acquire the remaining properties on the north and south city blocks adjacent the existing campus.