Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Seven Points of Church House Architecture

About a year and a half ago - a year before construction started - I jotted down a list of "points" that seemed to summarize the thinking behind this kind of house. When I looked back at it a few weeks ago I wasn't sure how "divine inspiration" didn't make the cut. But I realized that this is such an over-arching theme for every category that it doesn't make sense to just make it one item on a list. Also, "a space in the center" used to be an 8th item, but I decided that this is just a feature particular to the design of this house rather than something necessary for every such house. If I designed another "church house" it may have a completely different visual theme, based on some other biblical principal. So here's the Seven, interspersed with the latest photos from the site.

Marriage of two distinct functions, church and house - corresponding to the divine and the domestic, sacred and profane, holy and ordinary, worship and life.

As shown in the "video tour," this is the first of two openings in the stone wall that don't go all the way through - because they are in front of the attic space. I imagine someone asking me, What if birds nest in there? I would be so honored.

A Holy Place: the largest space, for:
        - Gathering
        - The Lord's Supper
        - Eating meals
        - Bible reading
        - Poetry reading
        - Prayer
        - Star gazing
        - Preaching
        - Singing
        - Dancing
        - Working
        - Watching movies
        - Listening to music
        - Etc. - experiencing and creating "whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, worthy of praise" (Philippians 4:8)

I finally have water! Only took a couple of months. The contractor I hired to tap my water and sewer lines kept finding the water table too high to bore under the road. So after about two months with no change in the water table, he finally opted for a slightly more expensive option for boring and got it done.

View to the sky.

Reverence for nature.

Natural materials: stone, brick, wood, slate, ceramic, metal. No paint, stain, chemical treatment, sheetrock, vinyl.

Honesty and simplicity in construction, detailing and aesthetics.

The notches left in the top of this wall are not shown on my drawings. While on site one day I asked the mason to put these in so that the joists from the porch roof will have a place to sit. Originally I was just going to attach them to a ledger board bolted to the face of the brick wall. I like the notches better because it shows more clearly that the joists line up with the bricks and are based on the same measurement - 16 inches on center.

Engravings of Scripture: God's words permanently on the building, accumulating over time, small, almost unnoticeable, and everywhere.

The rather intricate brick screening at the top of the walls is going up. Functionally this serves as a guard rail around the roof deck. Expressively it suggests an erosion or dissolution of the brick walls as they get closer to the sky. The same Flemish bond pattern is used here, which started the wall from the footing. But whereas at the base of the wall this bond is a purely horizontal coursing, as is traditional, here at the top I've removed portions of the bond to leave vertical openings.


  1. wow we love the 'guard rail' and brick design -- that is awesome!!!

    look forward to seeing it in person soon.

    where's the playroom and kid corner? :) hehe

    Randi :)

  2. oh we're gonna put the kids on the roof where they can crawl around on the skylights and look down on us... for a change ;)

  3. very good :)