As your searching for the non-traditional church architects there are several things you should consider. Some obvious and some that won't be obvious until its too late.
Over the years I've had the opportunity to work with many different church architects. Some of the best men and women serving the church today do so by designing highly relevant worship space.
As you prepare to hire an architect, you'll want to keep the end result of new ministry space in mind.
Here are a couple things to consider.
1. Architects get paid to draw buildings – Because 73-91% of their work is completed prior to the start of construction. 73-91% of their fee is paid before a shovel goes into the ground. That's just the way it has to be.
The bulk of their work is on the front end, so they are paid accordingly. Keep in mind their ultimate goal is the design. Your goal is the building and the worship that needs to happen in it.
2. Pricing – Architects don't have a dog in the hunt when it comes to pricing. That isn't what you pay them for so be careful in trying to make them responsible for it. They all do financial modeling. However, would you rather have someone saying “what it should cost”… or a builder who says “this is what I'll build it for?”
Yes that means engaging a builder earlier. That means bidding is out. You'll find collaboration is worth 10-15% on your project, and bidding is a crap shoot. In most church building projects the final price is only a distant relative of the “bid” price.
3. Soft Costs – the soft costs of a construction project are all the items you'll spend money on that aren't in the construction budget. In most cases items like furniture and Audio equipment are purchased long after the start of construction. Your architect should give you input but how you spend your budget is up to you.
4. The Leadership Gap – John C Maxwell says everything rises and falls on leadership. If Architects draw buildings, and contractors build them, who's responsible for leading the charge to start construction? You must determine who's leading the entire project on your behalf before you start the design process.
Building a church is like running a marathon, the real work happens long before race day. Preparation is critical to getting shovels in the dirt.
Many pastors underestimate the challenge of getting to the start line for construction. Yes finding the top non-traditional church architect is certainly one of the steps to success. However, close to 40% of the pastors I've met with have drawings for a building they can't afford to build. That means people gave their hard earned money sacrificially…..for nothing!
So as you begin to determine who you'll partner with remember that someone has got to own the responsibility of getting the building into construction.
With that in mind here are the Top Non-Traditional Church Architects that I've worked with or run into in my work as a Building Pastor.
Top Non-Traditional Church Architects
“Established in 1963, LS3P ASSOCIATES LTD. is a multi-disciplinary firm offering architectural, interior architecture, and strategic visioning services to a wide variety of clients nationwide. LS3P is dedicated to well-conceived master planning, quality church architecture, and a satisfied client. As such, the firm has carefully assembled an experienced staff that represents a strong degree of technical ability and professional dedication for a full-service practice that provides award-winning architecture and interior architecture.”
“We have developed noteworthy expertise through our various studios. As you peruse our portfolio, you will note our excellent experience in over twenty market areas. We have developed this extensive model over many years so that we can offer this multi-talented capability to our clients and as a creative outlet for our staff. Our professional services include: Architecture, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Master Planning and Programming. We are annually ranked among the Top 25 Architectural Firms and Interior Design Firms by the Atlanta Business Chronicle.”
“Since 1961, we have applied our consulting, architecture and developing services to a wide range of clients with various project types including houses of worship, learning centers, financial institutions and business environments. Our team has a proven history of client satisfaction based on effective communication, strong leadership, creativity and attention to detail. By spending the time to build strong relationships with our clients, we gain the insight necessary to deliver fresh, innovative solutions that meet today's needs as well as those appearing on the horizon. Our team has a proven history of client satisfaction based on effective communication, strong leadership, creativity and attention to detail. By spending the time to build strong relationships with our clients, we gain the insight necessary to deliver fresh, innovative solutions that meet today's needs as well as those appearing on the horizon.”
I'm sure there are many other fine Church Architects out there but these are the guys I know do good work with design and planning. Any one of them would be worth having a conversation with at some point.