This new 75,000 GSF worship center for Charlotte, North Carolina’s Elevation Church, one of the fastest- growing churches in the country utilized distinctive branding, innovative detailing, and carefully considered massing to create a flexible, welcoming, dynamic space for its thriving congregation.
WFM Staff · October 1, 2016
Charlotte, North Carolina’s Elevation Church, one of the fastest-growing in the country, needed a new permanent facility to serve as its global broadcast center. The new worship facility at Ballantyne, a mixed-use development, occupies a 22-acre suburban campus. With 12 other campus locations, the church wanted a space which reflected its distinctive branding in order to unify the worship experience across locations. The large 75,000 GSF space also required careful consideration towards massing, scale, detailing, and wayfinding to break down the massive volume and create a welcoming, human-scale worship environment, and the expansive 1,800 seat auditorium provided a number of technical challenges.
In order to help the client achieve this well-defined vision for the space, the design team worked closely with the church’s team to incorporate Elevation’s branded orange color throughout the design, including metal panels enveloping the main entrance and interior cased openings, supergraphics, signage, and the fixed auditorium seating.
New Campus Construction (Elevation Church - Ballantyne Campus)
Charlotte, North Caroline
Project Size: 801-2000 seats
Completion Date: July 10, 2015
The form of the space creates a welcoming experience which starts well before entering the space. The design breaks down the massive volume using a variety of scales, patterns, and textures. The exterior materials palette of architectural precast concrete, aluminum storefront and curtainwall with clear low-e glazing, and metal panels uses subtle detailing and coordinated reveals to provide scale, texture, and visual interest. Horizontal aluminum extrusions serve as accents and lend a dynamic quality to the façade. The careful composition of windows and doors, including vertical ribbons of side lites at classroom doors, add rhythm and pattern to the lateral volumes which are also lower in height at the building’s approach to reduce the apparent scale.
The monumental entry canopy serves as a wayfinding tool visible from a distance, ensuring that visitors know where to enter the space without having to ask for directions. The well-defined curtainwall nodes at the entrance and stairs are each accentuated by these flying canopies with metal panel finishes, sculptured steel columns, and the signature Elevation Church orange color. Interspersed multicolored glass panes support the church’s branding and offer a contemporary take on the traditional stained glass window. These curtainwall nodes also create a “lantern” effect at night, serving as a brightly-lit beacon drawing worshippers into the space.
The main entry plaza serves as a vibrant gathering space which underscores the community experience. The exterior shade canopies define the space and offer a subtle sense of shelter, while integrated seat walls intentionally encourage fellowship and informal conversation from the point of arrival forward.
In the interior, the double-height lobby space features distinctive edge-lit fin lighting to draw the eye upwards; a voluminous stair anchors the space. The glass curtain wall filters natural light deep into the building, while integrated screens offer information to worshippers and build excitement for worship. The expansive space includes a variety of gathering spaces to encourage fellowship, including a mezzanine level which helps to define and animate the space.
The simple and cost-effective finishes, including polished concrete flooring, metal-wrapped columns, and custom millwork in Elevation orange at key wayfinding points, help to keep the focus on the activity of the people within the space. The design of the interior space integrates all of these elements to preserve sightlines, efficient circulation, and a sense of connection.
Additional program spaces include a 17,000 SF children’s ministry wing for 500 children, breakout classrooms, two state-of-the-art children’s theaters, restrooms, and storage facilities. An AVL broadcast suite integrates the technology for the multi-media experience and telepresence broadcasts. An executive suite, private parking enclosure for staff and guests, and a large loading dock all support headquarters operations.
The spacious auditorium presented a number of technical challenges; the design team worked closely with the owner and consultants to incorporate A/V equipment, stadium seating, a rounded stage which projects into the auditorium, and optimum sight lines throughout the space.
The thriving new space accommodates approximately 6,000 people across the four weekend worship experiences at the campus, and the project met an aggressive schedule to open on-time.