Calvary Baptist Church hired Visioneering to help them design a church without walls that would serve as a multisite venue and a gift to the community by providing engaging indoor gathering spaces and outdoor park and recreation amenities on their 100-acre Harvest Fields campus.
WFM Staff · October 1, 2016
Calvary Baptist Church had been serving the State College area and their young college population as a multi-site church with limited rented or outdated facilities. Fortunately through an unusual set of circumstances and the vision of a local Christian businessman they had been blessed with a 100-acre property and wanted to leverage this beautiful mountainside location as a gift to the community.
New Campus Design (Calvary Baptist Church)
St. College, Pennsylvania
Project Size: 301+800 seats
Completion Date:October 4, 2015
Pastor Dan Nold’s vision was to create a “church without walls” that is all about going beyond their walls in relationships by connecting people with Christ, with each other, and with the world around them.
To achieve this Visioneering was brought in by the church to envision a master plan that stewards the natural beauty and the available acreage to create buildings and exterior environments that interact with each other and that invite the community to come and experience them.
Whether it is fishing in one of the ponds on site, exploring the acres of wooded trails, playing soccer on the regulation-sized field, spending time in a prayer cottage, holding meetings in the lodge, relaxing with coffee from the café while the kids play in the indoor playland, or having a wedding in the glass-enclosed atrium that blurs the visual lines of indoor and outdoor space, Calvary wanted the entire site to be designed and used as a community amenity.
The first phase facility includes: a 600-seat worship center that is expandable in the future to 1,500 seats; a themed children’s wing for birth through fifth grade that includes a group room, breakout rooms, and an indoor playland,; a youth/community room; a café; and a spacious atrium lobby that serves as the circulation hub for both this phase and future additions.
Situated half-way up the gentle mountain slope the glassed-in atrium is visible from the main highway as a beacon inviting you to explore the site. Once you arrive on the site you are treated to scenic vistas of Mount Nittany to the north and downtown State College and Penn State University to the west, as a constant visible reminder of the mission field of students and townspeople this church is called to serve from this campus, which is aptly named “Harvest Fields.”
The design of the facility incorporates a simple pre-engineered metal box for the worship center, which allowed the church to handle the current needs within their available budget while allowing for easy future expansion internally (with stadium risers) and externally with additional structural bays added to the south end of the building. The “jewel” of the site is the octagonal atrium with huge glass expanses framing specific views of the surrounding community.
Between the glass panels on the exterior of the atrium are various earth tones and warm, textured materials including stained wood, stucco, metal panels, and stacked stone that simultaneously make a stunning visual statement while also feeling contextually appropriate for its location nestled on this mountainside perch.