The design team collaborated with Bay Area Community Church to design a multi-phase master plan for this new church campus. Based around the theme of Apostle John’s vision of the sea of glass and throne room of heaven, along with Habbakuk’s vision of the glory of the knowledge of God leading to a water, the building concept was generated around a wave and water theme, also symbolically paralleling the Chesapeake Bay region, where the church calls home.
The first building phase was completed in 2006 and included a multipurpose gymnasium/worship Auditorium, a café and coffee bar named the “Bay Café,” administrative spaces, children’s and adult classrooms, and a dedicated youth worship space called “The Warehouse.” The second building phase was completed in 2015 and included a 350 seat chapel and expanded children’s wing with new classrooms, and a playroom for families. Both the auditorium and chapel serve as worship spaces during weekend gatherings.
In keeping with the water theme, a large curving balcony rolls through the length of linear concourse like waves in the ocean and the elevator tower was formed in the shape of a boat’s sail. The lobby consists of large expanses of blue glass through which the people of the church can be seen. Use of natural and industrial materials such as wood slats, exposed steel, cable railings, and a polished concrete floor help convey the nautical theme, while maintaining and authentic and relatable environment for guests.
The elliptical form and metal cladding of the Chapel is reminiscent of a ship inserted into the Concourse and being sent out to sea as an analogy of the church’s involvement in the local community and foreign missions. The Chapel was designed as a multi-generational space that maintains a traditionally “worshipful” space interpreted in a fresh and contemporary way. The Chapel has minimal articulation on the walls, preparing a canvas for the church to utilize for visual installations. The intentional placement and treatment of the glass in the Chapel achieves uniform light distribution throughout the space, simultaneously focusing one’s view toward the trees and sky surrounding the site and avoiding ground level distractions, such as cars, people, and houses across the street. The wood treatment in the ceiling serves to provide a sense of warmth and to support the acoustic performance of the space.