Waldon Studio Architects, now Michael Graves Architecture, worked closely with the client to develop an architectural aesthetic that hearkens back to the quaint, southern building vernacular, while accommodating the grand scale of the building program. The building exudes craftsmanship and architectural details, paying tribute to early construction methods by using natural wood and aged materials. While the building reflects a traditional charm, it includes the latest in audio, video, and lighting technology all discreetly designed. The result is a warm and inviting space, filled with natural light, fitting for a variety of modern events.
Located in the center of the site is the oldest and largest Live Oak tree on the property, and the decision was made to feature this specimen tree in the design. Working carefully to preserve this and other specimen trees and minimize the impact of the new buildings, the Chapel and the Social Hall buildings were arranged flanking the feature tree, forming a landscaped Garden Plaza between them. The Chapel building is a traditional axial 300-seat Sanctuary, entered under a true bell tower and through custom-milled and hand-carved walnut doors. The gable-form wood trusses set a classic tone and create rhythm in the space, while accented with contemporary details. At the chancel, a custom designed stained-glass window features a design inspired by the Live Oak trees on site. The Social Hall building is fully equipped with a warming kitchen to facilitate catered events.
The Garden Plaza was designed to feel like a prayer garden that includes native plantings and soft water features to create a soothing visual and auditory meditative experience. Although the garden is sized for a dinner reception of three hundred, it maintains an intimate feel through smaller scale details and texture.