Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Building for the Houston Mennonite Church

We here at Urban Architecture have been tasked by the Mennonite Church of Houston to create a building that communicates the core Mennonite values. They are as follows:

1. Jesus is our core value for life and worship. 
2. Sharing life in community (Size: 160-180)
3. The gospel is Good News about God and God's actions of peace
4. Being "In but not of the world"
       a. Engaged in the world, welcoming to all
       b. Alternative, counter-cultural
5. Stewardship, simplicity and "green" design
6. Space for growth

It’s an exciting opportunity and challenge for us. Our initial sketches came to this:

Rev. Marty Troyer had these thoughts:
"This concept embraces the gospel goodness of Jesus' presence in our lives through the primary symbolism of the skylight, which shines brightly into every area of our building. Indeed, it cuts its way into our sanctuary at an angle that reminds us of God's surprising and life-giving way. God - and therefore also the church - is not in perfect symmetry with the world. This building is welcoming, rather than imposing, on our property and is being designed with multiple community-building spaces; with particular emphasis on the narthex. And so much more!
 We recognize this is not the final product. Indeed, there is MUCH to discuss and discern and dream about together. But this is an expression of these beliefs that uses physical building materials - rather than words - to shape our faith. "
We are excited to continue developing this project and hope it engages and excites you as well.

Reverend Troyer can be found on blogging as The Peace Pastor or on Twitter @ThePeacePastor.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bethel Baptist Church

Bethel Baptist Church

Historic Preservation

Urban Architecture was hired to collect and compose historical information on historic Bethel Baptist Church as part of a permanent installation in what will be a new City of Houston park. Urban teamed up with local historian and genealogist Debra Blacklock-Sloan to compose a historical narrative describing the church's religious and civic development as representative of their historic churches in the African American community as part of Houston's overall cultural development. Minor Design is translating this information and historical images onto a graphic canvas that will serve as a compliment to the landscape design by White Oak Studio and the overall park experience. 

Bethel Baptist Church is located in Houston's historic Freedmen's Town Fourth Ward just west of the downtown area. It was founded by Rev. John Henry (Jack) Yates. Collaborative efforts with the Community Archaeology Research Institute uncovered evidence of four church buildings that were constructed on the site since 1891. Recognized African American Architect John Logan Blount designed the last building, which was completed in two phases (1923 & 1950). The church was damaged in a fire in January 2005. More than 75% of the walls have been saved in the new park design. The walls will serve as a frame for the new City Park, which is expected to be completed by summer's end.