Archive for December 2014

Would you go to church more often if it looked like this?   Leave a comment

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Would you go to church more often if it looked like this?

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When DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS was asked to design a new 3,000 seat church near Washington, D.C.,   modern church design would change forever.   “We can no longer afford to build and heat huge sanctuaries that sit idle during the weekdays” said principal Dennis Kowal AIA, LEED AP.    So with that, every major space was designed to serve more than one purpose and to be used seven days a week.  Multi-purpose rooms were not a new concept, but making them spectacular yet functional was a welcome change.

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 The Sanctuary can convert from natural light to stage light within seconds. Whether voice, choral, amplified or a Capella music, the auditorium is perfectly tuned for maximum enjoyment  but instantly transforms into a gymnasium.

This curved lobby joins all of the functions including high school, college, worship, recreation, and administration.  The same lobby is designed to seat 500 for conferences and special events.

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 Seven hundred upholstered seats can squeeze into a 3’ thick wall in a matter of minutes.  Just moments before, this was a 3000 seat auditorium!

This spacious conference room is lined with counters, storage, sinks, and white boards. The same conference room becomes a banquet room complete with buffet counters and adjacent food preparation room.

High school classrooms enjoyed natural light views and built-in projection equipment.

By sizing the high school classrooms with extra footprint and storage closets, instant conversion to Sunday School classrooms was possible.

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Posted December 23, 2014 by Dennis Kowal Architects in Places of Worship

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Humble on the outside and colorful on the inside   Leave a comment

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Humble on the outside and colorful on the inside

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Phase One of the Praise Presbyterian Korean Church features a multi-purpose worship space, fellowship hall and administrative offices.

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Like the Korean Culture, this new church is humble on the outside and colorful on the inside.  The Praise Presbyterian Church has services in Korean and English and is a mix of generations.  Since family structure is an important dynamic, the architecture of the new building exposes the elements of its structure.  The tops of columns branch out like a “family tree” and energy-saving translucent panels simulate rice paper screens.  The facility has a modern appearance and becomes an embracing backdrop for the colorful presentations of folk culture, classical music and worship.

Natural light floods the interior of the church and spacious hallways become galleries that are used for constantly changing exhibits and art.   The translucent wall panels are 4” thick and contain a clear spun glass insulation that allows light to pass without the heat.

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The structure of the unique stair case is fully exposed.  The stair is actually hung by suspension cables and floats three stories within the translucent stair tower.  At night, the stair towers glow and become a beacon of hope to the community.  Begun by a handful of college students meeting at Rutgers University, the church is now a large congregation of young professionals with their parents and grandparents.  The facility supports their church services, fellowship, and many musical performances by the talented congregation.

                             
   
   
   
   
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The acoustically tuned multipurpose room has movable seating and can transform into a gymnasium.  The carpeting is a “true bounce” carpet that performs naturally for basketball and other sports.  Sophisticated lighting, sound, and video systems give the facility great flexibility and use.

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Dennis Kowal Architects design buildings that resonate with the culture of the organization.

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Why would the largest Presbyterian Church in New England hire Dennis Kowal Architects?   1 comment

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Why would the largest Presbyterian Church in New England hire Dennis Kowal Architects?

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The DKA expansion and “prayer tower” above bridges the two existing church buildings to the left and right and creates an organic link with the beautiful New England site and distant shores beyond.

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Church Architects from five states were invited to show their best projects but it was the work and approach of Dennis Kowal Architects that caught the attention of the Noroton Presbyterian Church.  Nestled in one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, this modern church with very historic roots needed to update and expand to support their bursting ministries.   Pastor Sam Schreiner is often heard saying “we are an over performing church in an under-performing building”.    The Kowal Design team transformed and expanded the existing facility to include a new Mission Center, Fellowship Hall, , Worship Space, Performing Arts Room, Daycare, Offices and Prayer Tower.

The fifteen million dollar project has completed Phases I and Phase II, and congregational reaction has been very promising so far.  Why was this New Jersey firm brought into the project?    “The DKA team has demonstrated that they listen to their clients, use creativity to solve complicated problems, definitely understand how ministry works, and create beautiful spaces with a watchful eye on the budget.”

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Posted December 19, 2014 by Dennis Kowal Architects in Master Plan, Places of Worship

Guatemala starts construction   2 comments

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Guatemala starts Construction

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Sanctuary Column 3-922

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Workers at the Genesaret Church in Guatemala City begin reinforcement of the two story walls to accommodate a second floor.  A combination of rebar, poured concrete and block walls  provides earthquake protection and added security against intrusion.

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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS (DKA) raises the roof!   Through the wonderful humanitarian efforts of Caring Partners International (CPI), a faith-based organization that brings medical supplies and treatment to those in need around the world, DKA has joined forces with the Genesaret Church in downtown Guatemala City.   The renovation and expansion will allow both worship and expanded medical services to flourish in this depressed neighborhood where crime, poverty and gangs are common.  The Church has been effective in reaching this community where several former gang members are now regular attenders.

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Meetings

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Dennis J. Kowal AIA has traveled to this church many times over the past ten years and has always been impressed by the complete sacrificial effort of Pastor Hernandez and his wife Marianna and their love for their neighborhood residents.  This respect has evolved into a relationship and building partnership.  Planning sessions included presentations to the congregation and discussions with the leadership.

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Now that construction has begun, CPI Executive Director, Rhonda Reed, writes: “I remember our time together in Guatemala City in the Spring of 2012, reviewing the initial construction plans with Pastor Hernandez. His dreams of creating a multi-story facility are now becoming reality thanks to your input and involvement.  As you know, the living conditions present in their local neighborhood are less than ideal, and they need creative planning for proper ventilation, natural lighting, and practical finishes. Your experience and counsel will ensure a successful project .”

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Construction

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Once the second floor and balcony are complete, the Church  will serve even more people.  The Church offers free clinics to the community several times a year.  Over  1400 patients were seen here this year.  The construction has been a joint effort of local architects, partners, volunteers and donors.

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DSC09472 2012 adj-922

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Fillings and extractions with the minimum of anesthesia sometime requires serious hand-holding and verbal support.  Being an architect isn’t always about structure, design and drawings…the many good works at the Geneserat Church are a constant reminder that it is also about the people who use the spaces.

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Posted December 18, 2014 by Dennis Kowal Architects in Places of Worship