2017 Solomon Awards

Design & Construction

Solomon Awards: Shepherd Church

Shepherd Church has about 8,000 members spread across 4 locations in Los Angeles, they brought in Visioneering Studios to evaluate previously designed construction costs, which led to a redesign of the facility. Visioneering was able to keep the 3,500 seat worship center with LED walls, a full kitchen, and café.


WFM Staff  ·  September 26, 2017

Led by Pastor Dudley Rutherford, Shepherd Church is a church of about 8,000 members spread across 4 locations in LA, CA, and had previously completed architectural plans through construction permitting when they found that the plan exceeded their budget.

They brought in Visioneering Studios to evaluate costs, which led to a redesign of the facility. Visioneering was able to keep the 3,500 seat count in a state-of-the-art worship center with LED walls and additional program elements including a full kitchen and café.

The project includes a 3-story prayer tower, with 360-degree views over the city. Exterior amenities include a large outdoor canopy with fans for warm days, a water-wall, and an outdoor fountain which doubles as a baptismal. 

Visioneering Studios is a national design/build firm, with studios in Irvine, Denver, Dallas, Nashville, and Charlotte, master planned, designed and built the new worship center, parking structure, and site work.  The site for the new worship center presented some early design challenges: existing worship center, along with children/youth spaces, were at one; parking was at the other end; with the new facility situated between the two.

Logistically, this suggested that parents park, & walk across the campus to drop their kids off before heading to the new worship space. “There wasn’t much story, there wasn’t space for people to connect,” explains Robert Bergmann, managing principal of Visioneering Studios Architecture.  “We asked the church about their story, and they talked about how they were a refreshment center when the LA fires were happening––they were a lookout tower and a lighthouse,” Bergmann says. “This idea of the Northern Lights started to form––a place to look up to, a place of refuge––we were reminded of the Cities of Refuge with their torches lit.” In pursuing this idea, Bergmann explored the story of The Twelve Tribes & the 12 sons, leading to a solution to one of his principal design challenges. 

Bergmann discovered that by spacing 12 pillars 30 feet apart between the parking lot and the children/youth building, a meandering pathway would lead visitors to their destinations, all while telling the story of The Twelve Tribes. When returning to their cars, the opposite side would provide information on the 12 apostles. The result: an outdoor gallery, with no fences or gates, so that church members and curious passersby could wander onto the campus and take “this art walk of sorts.”

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