South Euclid United Church of Christ began in 1845 in Cleveland, Ohio, with the original stone church being built in 1867.
Tragically, lightning struck the church in 2010 and burned to the ground, leaving only a massive carved lintel and bell remaining.
In 2012, the church bought a Catholic church and school campus that was closed due to Diocesan consolidation.
As is typical of churches built in the 40s and 50s, the main entries for the church, school and rectory faced the residential streets.
As cars became more prevalent, a large parking lot was built, requiring parishioners, students and visitors to enter the back of the buildings, often having to walk up steps to enter.
The existing sanctuary was not large enough to hold a rapidly growing church, and a new 500-seat sanctuary had to be incorporated.
The main design strategy was to create new entry zones in the parking lot to welcome congregants and visitors and to give them clear identifying markers to understand where to enter for the different functions on the site.
These markers connected visually across the site and physically through the sidewalks and landscaping.
Each entry pavilion added not only a welcoming entry but provided a new accessible means to enter the buildings.
Reminiscent of the old church, each entry was marked by a massive stone lintel, each one reading “Discipleship,” “Fellowship,” and “Worship.”
To convert the one-story classroom building into a gathering area, cement block walls were removed and the roof was raised, allowing natural light to flood the space.
The existing gym was renovated in Phase 1 to create a temporary worship space. A strategically placed addition, the welcome center, connected the administration building (former rectory) and the gym, which also provides accessibility to the different levels.
In order to meet schedule and budget, the design build delivery method was used. The project has brought renewed vibrancy to not only the fast-growing church but to the campus and surrounding community, as well.
Ziska Architecture, www.ziskaarchitecture.com, is a board-approved member of the National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB). The NACDB is a 501(c)(6) not for profit organization whose mission is to connect like-minded firms by educating and equipping them to serve and provide resources to faith-based markets and customers, www.nacdb.com.