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55-year-old Burbank church celebrates groundbreaking for major renovations
Domusstudio architecture redesigns church to increase outreach
“Providing compelling worship facilities is important for Burbank Presbyterian’
Built in the 1950s, Burbank Presbyterian is a concrete masonry block building with two half towers facing the street.
“The church today looks unfinished,”
According to the Senior Pastor, the Rev. Ross Purdy, only 10 percent of the facility is being utilized today. A few rooms are being used for 90 percent of the church’s functions and ministries, and the sanctuary is just used on Sunday. Through the redesign by domusstudio which includes an extensive ADA upgrade, the church will be able to utilize 100 percent of its facilities.
“The renovation will open the church to the community and to itself,” Purdy said. “Much of what this renovation will do is to provide full access to all people no matter their physical abilities. This, I believe, addresses the heart of Christ’s ministry. Jesus was accessible to all people for all of his ministries.”
One of the biggest changes to occur on the church campus will be a new entry, according to Keitel. The existing entry, or narthex, will become a small chapel featuring a clear glass connection to the community and a new skylight that will provide an ethereal connection. The chapel will be backlit at night with colored LED lighting that changes with the liturgical seasons.
The church’s new entry will be created farther back on the campus, providing a better transition from street activity to religious ministry.
“Today when people leave the church, they are immediately on the street,” said Keitel. “Our new entry will bring the worship community together into a courtyard, where social ministries will flourish.”
While the bones of the church will not change, visually the church will be altered dramatically.
“The new facility will have heightened corners that will create a stronger image in the community,” Keitel explained. “Plus, the two towers will become three, when, as part of ADA upgrades, a new elevator tower will be constructed. These three towers will provide an architectural rhythm and functionally provide access to the three levels of the campus.”
“Only a few spaces at Burbank Presbyterian today are accessible to all people, but with the addition of the elevator tower and other improvements, all who come to the church will have access to all of the church campus,” agreed the Rev. Purdy. “This is a wonderful solution to a tremendous problem that became painfully clear to us several years ago when we had to transport one of our high school youth down the stairs in a wheelchair so the student could participate with the other students. Many of our elderly worshippers have never seen the basement or the second floor of the church. With several church spaces effectively ‘closed’ to a population, our entire campus is not really ‘open’ to all who want to participate. We won’t compromise the accessibility of our ministries, so you can see the facility needs to be changed to match the ministry.”
According to Keitel, changes will be made to the interior of the church as well, changes that will allow the traditional stained glass windows adorning the sanctuary to bounce light throughout the space. The remodel also will introduce new windows, skylights and light shelves, maximizing the effects of natural daylight and minimizing the requirements for artificial lighting for a more sustainable building.
Further enhancing future efficiency at the church, the basement of the existing sanctuary building will be dug out on one side in order to create a lower-level outdoor courtyard for youth assembly. The church’s main courtyard will be reworked as well for improved gathering space and ADA accessibility.
One of the most architecturally interesting aspects of the new church design is a bridge that will be built from the new elevator tower to the upper levels of the two existing buildings, “providing an exciting three tier exterior kinetic courtyard,” Keitel said.
The project will break ground in September and be completed in the late summer of 2012. The project will be constructed by HMH Constructors, Inc. of Camarillo.
Founded in 1986 as Dominy + Associates, domusstudio architecture is a San Diego architectural design firm specializing in religious facilities, fire stations, educational buildings, senior housing and custom residential projects. For more information about projects and services, call 619-692-9393 or visit www.domusstudio.com.
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