2017 Solomon Awards

Design & Construction

Re-purposed Church Library Becomes Renu Cafe

StudioCraftDetroit & Ward Church collaborate to create the RēNū Coffee Shop - part of the church's open door initiative, to create an inviting gathering spot for the community to experience a comfortable, warm and engaging environment.

WFM Staff  ·  February 15, 2017

StudioCraftDetroit developed a coffee cafe within an existing, underutilized library at Ward Church in Northville, Michigan.

The existing library, approximately 2,400 square feet, was inventoried and library staff interviewed in preparation for their revised program needs and space reduction. The current demand of electronic media has resulted in less traffic over the past years at Ward - thus allowing the RēNū Coffee Shop to transform synergies within the existing library footprint. The total square footage taken from the library for the new cafe is approximately 1,600 square feet.

Coffee Cafe (Ward Church)

Northville, Michigan
Project Size: 801-2000 seats
Completion Date: June 17, 2016

The RēNū Coffee Shop is part of Ward’s Open Doors initiative - a two year vision started in 2014 that asks Ward attendees to grow in faith and obedience, in a variety of ways, as they prepare to respond to three large doors of opportunity that senior leadership believes

God revealed and which required immediate attention. Open Doors reflects Ward’s continuing commitment to the mandate expressed in Acts 1:8 which instructs the church to go to “Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth.” Ward has a role to play in serving and sharing with people across the street and around the world, so the “doors” they are focusing on India, Detroit and the west Detroit Suburbs.

Ward initiated a phasing strategy to remodel and enhance their campus to make it an effective tool for serving the west Detroit Metropolitan community and to meet the needs of a multi-generational congregation. The Ward congregation also looks to actively invite community groups to use the facility and to continue to focus on setting a precedent for the surrounding neighbors and community.

The campus is redeveloping as a hub, but not losing focus that the building is not the ultimate destination but a launch pad to take hope into the surrounding neighborhoods, schools and workplaces. Ward seeks to be a visible, engaging part of what makes the west Detroit Metropolitan community a great place to live, work and play.

Ward Church desires people to feel at home on their campus and to inspire through their gathering places and activities offered throughout the week. Maintaining an accessible facility and adapting the aging campus to a multi-generational space to express love joyfully, generously and with no strings attached.

StudioCraftDetroit created a dynamic and warm atmosphere for the RēNū Coffee Shop that provides a safe and comfortable environment for those seeking a place to gather, study, engage and refresh. StudioCraftDetroit uses a template of natural materials to create a clean, crisp space that naturally complements and enhances the cafe. Wood is the foundational material of the cafe and includes an accent wall of rough sawn poplar in a chevron pattern and birch plywood transaction counters.

The wood finish consists of a mixture of pure tung oil and citrus solvent that naturally warms the wood. White solid surface countertops complement the wood providing a crisp accent to balance the warmer tones.

Existing concrete floors were refinished and a new matte polish reduces glare to establish a strong environment for reading and studying. Removing the existing lay-in ceiling exposes the existing steel structure and concrete plank decking and the addition of raw yet refined accent lighting helps complete an intimate yet voluminous environment.

The cafe also includes and displays items from Detroit ReMade, a ministry of Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation, who is a partner of Ward’s, providing crafted objects from “found” abandoned materials in the City of Detroit. These items respond to the theme of the coffee shop, which focuses on the idea that God redeems and “renews” all things, even those broken and left behind—as well as the idea that guests can be “renewed” by spending some time resting and sipping on some coffee at the RēNū Coffee Shop.


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