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The Problem with Vision Erosion

December 18, 2017 — by John Parker

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There are thousands of churches across the United States, and each church has its own story and uniqueness. How is that story being communicated, internally and externally? Does your church communicate who you are?

 

Imagine that you’re redesigning your church. Your main goal is to effectively convey the story of your missions and programs. Your church has some great programs that include providing shoes for children, digging wells to provide clean water, and sponsoring various overseas mission trips. Missions are the heartbeat of your church. You envision that all of the communication and interaction surrounding missions is going to happen in your church’s lobby, café, or other gathering areas.

 

So, you hire an architect. He knows the vision, but his main focus is on the facility—what the walls, floors, and ceilings of the building will look like—not necessarily what will go inside of it. Then, a contractor comes along. He’s going to build out the space, and he’s aware that there may be some items that might go on the walls. At some point in the process, the contractor realizes he’s missing some area. He needs to use another wall for some storage, and needs another space to put an information booth.

 

The project is completed. You’ve got a lobby that has an information booth and shelving to display items from the countries where your church hosts mission trips. It’s a nice lobby—but something’s missing. Your initial vision has completely been eliminated. Why? Because the architect and contractor weren’t in tune with your primary goal: to build out a space that would communicate your church’s main goal of missions and outreach.

 

When I worked for Disney, we found that the story and vision for a particular ride, attraction or land that we developed was so important that we actually had a show producer write the script for the narrative of an area. Even when it came to describing a merchandise shop, the narrative told the story of what that merchandise store was supposed to be and even the backstory of the family that may have owned it. All of these details informed those who were involved to keep true to the story of the space.

 

The reality is, if you don’t have a consistent, cohesive team that is part of the original narrative and walking through the entire build process together, you’re ultimately going to experience some level of VISION EROSION. Designers, architects, and contractors involved in the project will often make decisions and choices without the benefit of being informed, thereby eroding the final product.

 

The problem of vision erosion doesn’t just apply to construction. In almost anything, whether you’re developing a script or in the planning stages of a wedding, those initial discussions you have are important because they set the basis for the larger narrative of what you’re trying to accomplish. There is a huge benefit to having a team that knows your vision from the beginning and can make informed decisions throughout the process that align with those initial goals.

 

Here at Visioneering, we have the great benefit of having continuity and context for all the Design-Build projects we work on. Our entire team knows the story that accompanies your vision, and our designers and contractors work together to craft that vision and build a project that uses your money and time wisely. We believe that every building tells a story, and every space is unique. Our Design-Build process is design-led and centered around highlighting the larger narrative of your organization. Through Design-Build, we can help you develop a different kind of build—one that stewards both your story and your space well— so you can launch your inspired vision into reality.

 

This article is an excerpt from our free resource, DEMOLISHED. Download your copy today at demolishthebuild.com. If you’d like to eliminate vision erosion from your building process today, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

vision erosion

DesignWorship

2017 Solomon Award: Best Church Building Design

October 12, 2017 — by Gino Beltran

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We’re honored to receive the 2017 Solomon Award in Best Traditional and Contemporary Church Building Design on Crosspointe Church in Cary, North Carolina.

Solomon Award Crosspointe Church

Nearly 100 years ago, churches were rarely just a Sunday house of worship – they were known for building hospitals, schools, universities, community centers and more that served their surrounding neighborhoods. At Visioneering, we’ve been honored to partner with many churches over the years who desire to bring some of that history back into the present with multi-purpose facilities that serve the community beyond their four walls. When we first heard that Crosspointe Church in Cary, North Carolina was looking for community solutions rather than just a building, we couldn’t wait to come alongside.

In the “triangle” area of North Carolina between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, population was soaring – and with it, a surge of issues among local youth. More teenagers were getting into trouble, and more children were becoming obese at an alarming rate. The leadership at Crosspointe wanted to provide positive resources for local youth but knew they wouldn’t be as effective on their own. So, they began to develop partnerships with other organizations in the area, including the YMCA.

The location of Crosspointe would also be a key advantage in engaging people in the area. Sitting at the trail head that leads down to Jordan Lake, Crosspointe’s site was a destination for anyone walking, hiking, or biking up the trail from the lake. We began to dream together – what if those people could join a Zumba or Crossfit class when they got to the church? What if youth found afterschool programs that were actually worth the walk?

In order to provide a seven-day-a-week experience for the community, we re-designed Crosspointe’s existing spaces and expanded with reuse and activity in mind. There is a full kitchen that will be leased out by a local baker, a coffee house open daily, trails, and recreational areas throughout the campus for physical activities. Even the lobby itself was designed to house everything from exercise classes to MOPS groups. And of course, the 650-seat gymnasium that houses Sunday worship can now additionally be used for events throughout the community.

Solomon Award Crosspointe Church

The next step in completing Crosspointe’s updated facilities was to add additional space that would house a YMCA. The YMCA, open for membership, provides another 1,400 seats for Crosspointe’s services. The gym doubles as a worship center, complete with projection scoreboards that can turn on and off, and thus transform the room. The YMCA also uses Crosspointe’s nursery and Pre-Kindergarten rooms for their daycare services, thus greatly reducing the amount of square footage that would have been required with two separate building projects.

That’s not the only thing unique about the YMCA addition on Crosspointe’s campus. Thanks to the creative mind behind Crosspointe’s Administrative Pastor, TJ Terry, we were able to take the trees we harvested from the expansion site and use them as building materials on the YMCA – carrying the theme of reuse throughout both the old and new buildings. At Visioneering, we embrace every opportunity to redefine the culture around us to a movement of repurposing, and we were thrilled to partner with a leadership team that values the same responsible design.

Solomon Award Crosspointe Church

When you step foot onto Crosspointe’s new campus, the lofted ceilings and natural design elements invite you to take a deep breath and feel the endorphins – as though exercising in the fresh air. From the open concrete floors meant to withstand a lot of activity, to the hanging ropes used as seating area dividers, reflections of nature brought inside can be found throughout the buildings’ materials.

As part of our ministry at Visioneering, we feel called to do everything we can to help our church partners answer the tough questions that come along with building, and move forward with clarity and confidence towards greater Kingdom-impact. With Crosspointe, we focused on three main ideas:

1) Story – Who is their community, and what are they passionate about?

2) Soil – What is unique about their city and region?

And, 3) Stewardship – What are the next steps we can take towards their goals without exhausting their ministry budgets?

Crosspointe Church in Cary, North Carolina is a beautiful example of churches being for their
communities again, every day of the week.

DesignWorship

Want to Catch More Fish? Put Bait on the Hook

October 10, 2017 — by Tim Cool

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If you were driving down a road in your town and saw this building, would you be intrigued?  Would you want to check it out? As you look at that picture, who do you think this building is meant to attract? Who was the primary target to get sucked in by the design and amenities?

bait

If you said MEN… then you would be correct. But not just any man… a mid “thirty-something” man.  And why would a church focus on that age group and gender?  It is actually pretty simple for the leadership at Northside Christian (designed by Visioneering Studios).

For many men, there is too much talk at churches about love, surrender, “feelings,” and a whole host of other words and songs that are just not appealing. Northside Christian wanted to change that, by creating a culture and environment where men feel comfortable enough to not just attend, but to also bring their families. They became intentional about communicating a story and message to the target they wanted to attract.  They made the conscious decision to put “bait on the hook,” as they fulfilled their calling to be fishers of men.

The attractional elements of the physical campus were intended to be appealing to those they were trying to reach…just like the worm, lure, or minnow, are on a fishing hook.  If you go fishing for bass, you would not leave the bait at home.  Yes, it’s possible to catch a fish on a bare hook, but it is less likely, much harder, and far less rewarding.  So why do we think it’s wrong to put “bait” on the hook when we are trying to attract certain demographics? While I am in complete agreement that the Holy Spirit will move in a person’s heart to take action, God also gave us eyes, ears, noses, and other sensory attributes that He uses to influence us.

 

Here are 3 ways Northside Christian designed an environment to attract its target demographic:

  1. Know your materials.  With an understanding that men are more attracted to texture than color, Visioneering worked with Northside Christian to incorporate a variety of materials into the design of their campus. From the stone and wood grains to the exposed metal, every material was carefully chosen to make men feel more comfortable on campus.

bait

 

2.  Get creative with your concepts. Northside Christian and Visioneering wanted to tell the story of Northside Christian’s calling to become fishers of men through its design and architecture. To represent this mission, they built a pond for the public in front of their main building… and stocked it with fish!

bait

 

3.  Add amenities. Besides the “fishing hole,” Northside Christian was deliberate in the location of its exterior public spaces.  Even if you are not interested in fishing, there is a place to sit outside by a gentle waterfall to read. The playground is also open to the public, and the outside sitting areas and tables are inviting to anybody just looking for a place to hang out with others.

bait

 

Are you ready to go fishing for your community?  Is your church more interested in “cleaning” fish or catching them?  If it is the later, make sure you have the right bait.

Tim Cool
Chief Solutions Officer
704.507.8672
@tlcool

DesignWorship

Casino Church (Wait, What?)

September 11, 2017 — by Jody Forehand

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On my way out of Phoenix, AZ into San Diego, CA on Wednesday evening, I looked out the window of my American Airlines Airbus 321 and saw a site that looked like a big mega-church. I wondered if it was possibly a project by Visioneering Studios, since we design and build churches across the country. As we cruised by at several hundred miles per hour, I snapped a couple of pictures out the window, hoping to research the site after I got to the hotel in San Diego.

The site was a bit remote, not unlike a lot of other suburban megachurches that often have to go to the outskirts of larger cities to find enough acreage to house their campuses. This building site was right off the main highway for easy access and great visibility (another trait churches look for in selecting a site). It was surrounded by undeveloped desert scrub brush and not much else, but residential rooftops were nearby. Growing churches often seek to get out in front of the suburban expansion coming their way that will one day put them right in the middle of the community. This site had huge parking areas and the design of the building included a covered drop-off, a cylindrical tower “entry” element, and an interesting and creative layout that was reminiscent of churches we’ve designed at Visioneering Studios.

While I was too far away and passing by too fast to see any facade details or logos, I was quite certain it was a church, and I was interested to find out which one it was and if we had designed it. Later that evening, I got to my hotel room and popped open my MacBook. I was able to trace my flight path and find the “mystery” church site. As I scrolled the map east from the airport and zoomed in on the site to find out the name of the church, another name popped up instead… Casino Arizona!

casino

Wow. That was not what I was expecting at all. I was surprised, but shrugged it off and quickly forgot about it as I tried to get to sleep. The next day passed, full of great meetings with a multi-site church about changes to some of their campuses, and then it was time to head home. Leaving San Diego this morning, I connected in Phoenix again, and as the Boeing 757 raced skyward toward Charlotte, I noticed that we were backtracking along the same route I flew in on a couple days prior. I now saw the casino out the window again. This time, I already knew what it was and that’s when I had an unexpected and troubling question pop into my head: What does it say about the churches we work with, and the designs we create, that they can be confused with a casino?

Woah! My initial reaction was negative and surprising, even to myself. I thought, “Have church facilities become ‘secularized’ to the point that they look like ‘sinful’ casinos?” That’s a charge often hurled at mega-churches by smaller, more traditional churches and individuals who look condescendingly at the broad-brush caricature that culture has painted of megachurches and their “excess.”

Having worked with churches for 15 years, I’ve learned that there will always be some bad apples out there that people can point to that fit that mega-church caricature. It’s sad that this is true, but for every bad apple I have seen or heard about, there are hundreds of others that are fulfilling the Great Commission, connecting with their communities, and sending people and resources to the ends of the earth, serving the hopeless and helpless.

I’m not one who tries to over-spiritualize every event in my life, and I don’t audibly hear the voice of God speak to me. I often wish I did. But those who hear that still, small voice are often the ones who have changed the world in the most incredible ways through sacrificing their own personal comfort and ending up in places I never even knew existed.

As the plane accelerated upward and eastward leaving the casino behind, inside I felt what may have been the prompting of the Holy Spirit as another emotion and another question suddenly bubbled up. Maybe it was because on my flights this week I brought along Mark Batterson’s new book, “Whisper,” which is about learning to be still and listen for God’s voice in your life, but the new emotion I felt was joy. The new question I asked myself was, “If a casino, whose sole purpose is to take your earthly treasures from you, can use creative architectural design to develop a place people want to go to, why can’t a church ‘redeem’ this type of engaging design and use it as ‘architectural evangelism’?” Externally focused, life-giving churches will use whatever means and methods are necessary, short of sin, to reach others for Christ because they understand and fully embrace the eternal consequences that are at stake.

I long ago realized that arguments between believers about things like pipe organs vs. electric guitars and pews vs. theater seats are all spiritually-neutral, personal preferences. Jesus never sang from a hymnal while wearing a suit and tie and sitting in a pew, as light filtered through the stained-glass windows and someone played “Amazing Grace” on the organ. He also never sang a Chris Tomlin song from words on a screen while wearing shorts and a t-shirt, sitting in a theater seat sipping a latte while haze and moving lights created the ambiance for the shredding, electric guitar solo. Neither method changes the eternal truth of the gospel message, so as long as that truth is being preached and lived out by that church, the rest is just following Paul’s example.

We’re all moved to worship, and drawn to a deeper relationship with Christ in various ways, which is why I believe that Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 that he would “become all things to all people so that in all ways he might save some” is still applicable to these discussions about personal preferences today.

So now I don’t feel bad that I mistook a casino for one of our church projects. I know that this style of facility has been used in amazing ways across the country to reach millions for Christ, and I’m glad to have played some small part in that through my work at Visioneering. I also know that this style of building is not for everyone, and not for all time. Things change. Large mega-campuses may never completely go away, but there’s been a trend in the church market away from these over the last few years toward smaller, community-based, multi-site locations. If I were to fly over one of these smaller church projects we’ve designed, I may mistake it for a great restaurant, or retail shop, or public park, or I may not be able to distinguish it at all, and that’s okay. As long as we are designing churches as engaging spaces that are outward-focused and serve others while reflecting the beauty and creativity of our Creator, I’m good with whatever form that takes.

Design

Welcome to the Transformational Economy

August 11, 2017 — by Steven Chaparro

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There is a lot of talk these days about ‘experience’ and its role in design and business. Whether it is applied to user experience, customer experience, or even employee experience, there is a growing desire by brands to create remarkable customer interactions which are memorable and life-changing.

Crossfit as Church?

Remember the “Welcome to the Experience” Economy?

This topic of experience, however, is not a new one. As a formal idea, it was introduced almost twenty years ago. In 1998, B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore wrote a Harvard Business Review article called, “Welcome to the Experience Economy” which was followed by a book in 1999.

They described the concept of the Experience Economy by outlining The Progression of Economic Value. This principle describes how the values by which consumers base their purchases have evolved, or progressed, over the last century. Let’s use a cake to describe the idea:

  1. The Commodities Economy was described as an agrarian-based economy in which traders farmed natural products and brought them to market. The cake consumer would purchase the raw ingredients and bake the cake from scratch. The cost to make this cake was at its cheapest.
  2. The Goods Economy was an industrial-based economy in which manufacturers made standardized products and made them available to users. The cake consumer would purchase these cake-mix products to bake the cake. The cost to bake the cake in the good economy is slightly higher.
  3. The Service Economy was a service-based economy in which providers delivered on-demand, customized services to their clients. The cake consumer would go to the local bakery to purchase a baked cake which they can personalize with a frosted greeting. The consumer trades cost for convenience.
  4. The Experience Economy is an experience-based economy in which stagers staged personal and sensational moments for their guests. Currently, we are in the Experiences Economy. The cake consumer is no longer satisfied with a commoditized product, or even service. They are willing to pay an exponentially higher price for a shared experience. Parents-turned-party-planners now choose Chuck E. Cheese or Disneyland to enjoy entertainment, community, and memories to enhance the birthday cake experience.

An early pioneer of the experience economy was Walt Disney, a man before his time. While his early storytelling success was based on being a cartoonist and then as an animated film visionary, he soon grew wary of two-dimensional stories that could only be observed from a screen.

He began to imagine a three-dimensional, story-driven experience in which the audience members could be transformed into participants, or even guests. The question became, “What would it look like to create stories in which the guests could interact with the characters and the environments?” The answer was the development of Disneyland, the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

The “Be Our Guest” anthem has become the cornerstone of Disney’s experience-based approach. They understand that every guest touchpoint must be as intentional as if it were a scene in a film. From the user experience of the website, the customer experience of ticket purchase, the parking of a car, the walk/ride to the gates, the walk down Main Street, the interaction with the characters, the first view of the castle…I think you get the picture. Every interaction is strategic, designed and layered with back story.

In fact, Disney story and experience-driven legacy inspired and informed the development of our ideology and methodology at Visioneering Studios to create stories through spaces. Our principals, current and past, were trained at The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Imagineering, and AECOM, a significant Disney consultant.

The Upside and Dark Side to Experience-Driven Design

People are willing to pay for experiences because they offer a benefit and stimulation to consumers. People also base the value of experiences on their ability to cause them to tell stories about them. Lastly, people like experiences because they put the individual consumer, the “Me,” the I,” at the center of the attention. It’s like pulling up a chair at a table and being served a feast.

But the consumption aspect of experience is part of the problem. This is the dark side of experiences — even experiences can become commoditized. Most experiences are remarkable, but only for the space of time in which they are being experienced. When an experience is consumer-based, it’s based on consumption. You are no longer impacted when you are no longer consuming it. It’s like food with empty calories — you know that Snickers Bar that is delicious in the moment, but fleeting in its impact.

I say that it’s time to move beyond a consumer-based approach to experiences. It’s time to move beyond the experience economy. In the words of Christian songwriter, Lanny Wolff, “I’m so tired of being stirred but not being changed.”

 So, what’s the answer?

Welcome to the Transformation Economy

Even Pine and Gilmore predicted that the next era would be the Transformation Economy, in which the “Yodas” of the world will guide aspirants through experiences which result in sustained change in their lives. People are willing to pay for experiences that have the potential to change the way people live, work, and play.

In fact, there is evidence that this transition is already happening in culture. Through the advances made by technology, it is widely acknowledged that we are more globally connected, yet more locally disconnected. People are looking for deeper reasons to connect.

Angie Thurston and Casper ter Kuile of the Harvard Divinity School released a study called “How We Gather.” In it, the researchers were interested in understanding why Millennials specifically are moving away from church attendance. The research uncovered six themes emerge: the desire for community, personal transformation, social transformation, purpose-finding, creativity, and accountability. The argument is made that the Church is not providing strong enough alternatives in these areas of life, so they are in search of other communities which do provide this.

One of the ten case studies cited as emerging communities is Crossfit. In fact, there is this growing idea of ‘Crossfit as Church.’ Crossfit provides a sense of community where the “Me” of the Experience Economy transitions to the “We” of the Transformation Economy. In addition to community, Crossfit is a place to undergo personal transformation and accountability. It is very common for a ‘cross-fitter’ to be called to explain why they missed a workout.

With this in mind, we are proposing a transformation-experience approach. How can we re-imagine the future of spaces in which we gather — where we live, work, and play? This is the future.

The Architecture of Transformative Experience

We believe that the future of design is Transformational Experience. We say future because we believe that strategic design anticipates where our future is headed. We say design because we believe that design is the process of envisioning and creating an experience that transforms. We say experience because…

  1. We believe that experience should be Emotional – Brian Solis, a futurist, says that “Experience is an emotional response to a moment.”
  2. We believe that experience should be Holistic – “Experience is the sum of our interactions with the world around us.” –Gensler
  3. We believe that experience should Transformative – Truly transformative experiences leave the person forever changed by them. Going from an experience to an encounter.

The challenge becomes… how can we create spaces which elicit emotional, holistic, and transformative experiences? In future writings, we will explore how space can facilitate transformative experiences.

BuildDesignEnvisionNon-Profit

Behind the Build: Boys & Girls Club

August 4, 2017 — by Gino Beltran

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LOCATION: SANTA ANA, CA
DIVISIONS: ENVISION, DESIGN, BUILD
SERVICES: MASTER PLANNING, ARCHITECTURE, INTERIOR DESIGN, & CONSTRUCTION

boys & girls club

 

After 60 years of serving youth, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana wanted to invest in the future with a renovation that would be as bold and innovative as the next generation. At Visioneering Studios, we were honored to partner with them in creating a high-impact design that took advantage of their aging structure’s bones and worked within their budget.

From teaching 100% of the youth in their program how to code, to exposing them to entrepreneurship and robotics classes, the Boys & Girls Club needed a physical space that reflected their 21st-century programs, and their promise to continue investing in the future of youth.

 

This renovation allowed us to bring a new energy and investment into a neighborhood that really needed to know that people care for them and believe in their potential.

-Robert Santana

CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast

The results have been moving. Where a parking garage for a bus once stood, now is the home to an interactive teen center, where neighborhood youth can have a safe space for community and learning. The walls of the facility are strewn with statements to encourage kids to come alive, believe in themselves, and take ownership of the space. 85% of the youth feel they are better students, more confident, and have a support system to help them become successful. And 90% of parents see noticeable improvement in their child’s grades since joining the Club. That’s neighborhood transformation we are honored to be a part of!

Take a look at the video below to go Behind the Build of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana and learn more about this radical redesign:

DesignWorship

Do You Know the Health of Your Church Facility?

July 28, 2017 — by Tim Cool

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church facility

How often do you get a physical? For the past 20+ years, I have gotten one every year. The poking, the prodding, the blood work… you know the drill. There is critical bench-marking done during this annual ritual including comparisons from the previous procedures, as well as discussions about “best practices” for a person my age, height, and family history. I learn things I need to work on for the upcoming year and behaviors I need to improve, add, or terminate (like weight… sodium…fatty food). This is all meant for my good and longevity — none of the suggested changes are done to hurt me or shorten my life span, but rather to extend my life and productivity. Besides, we are the temple of God, right?

So, what about a “physical” for our ministry facilities (the other temple)? Are you:

  • Spending too much on utilities?
  • Investing enough to keep up with the natural rate of deterioration?
  • Properly staffing for your facility needs?

If  you cannot answer these definitively, then you need more information. At Cool Solutions Group, we’ve developed a Church Facility Evaluator that we’d like to offer to you for FREE. This simple tool will provide you with a snapshot of some key indicators associated with facility operational costs.  This 2-3 minute evaluation will give you some real-time data based on national averages as to whether you are GOOD TO GO, or in need of some help.

Don’t wait… get started HERE!

 

Tim Cool is founder of Cool Solutions Group, but more importantly, the husband to Lisa and father to 20 year old triplets. His passion is serving churches to be intentional with their facilities… and he loves hiking in the NC Mountains.

BuildDesignEnvisionWorship

Behind the Build: Centerpoint Church

June 16, 2017 — by Gino Beltran

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LOCATION: Murrieta, CA
DIVISIONS: ENVISION, DESIGN, BUILD
SERVICES: Master Planning, Architecture, Interior Design, & Construction

Centerpoint Church

 

Last year we were honored to receive the Solomon Award in Best Church Design for Youth and Children’s Spaces with the second phase of construction with Centerpoint Church in Murrieta, California.  Pastor John Hansen and his team invited us to envision a property where families, high schoolers, and junior high schoolers could gather and have a sense of belonging, as a tribe of their own.

The result was a state-of-the-art, 750-seat worship center, and a 15,000 square foot youth and administration venue, housing youth activities, after-school programs, and an indoor/outdoor cafe. We were able to take Pastor John’s concept for the space, and bring it to the next level of purpose, all while working within Centerpoint’s budget.

 

We have a place now that we are able to use for a dynamic explosion of ministry that’s fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

–Pastor John Hansen

At Visioneering Studios, we can’t wait to see how Centerpoint’s campus continues to evolve into a safe and welcoming place for families in the Temescal Valley. Take a further look below Behind the Build of Centerpoint Church:

 

 

BuildDesignEnvision

The Problem with Single Serve Design

April 27, 2017 — by Danae Dougherty

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single serve design

Two years ago I got married, and my husband and I had to figure out what we were going to keep and what had to go — everything we had was not going to fit into our new life, or our one bedroom apartment (of course, it was all his stuff that had to go).

However, after some additional compromising (thank you, pre-marital counseling) we decided I had some things that were not essential for our new, combined household. Part of that purge was 30 pounds of clothing and my Ikea dressers with the sagging bottoms (you all know what I am talking about). As the stuff piled up, I couldn’t help but question why I ever buy any of these things to begin with. All of it was falling apart and most of the clothing I only wore a handful of times. I realized I just didn’t care about any of this stuff — it literally held zero value for me. I was asleep in making responsible design choices for myself.

I needed a wake-up call. This lightbulb moment catalyzed to evaluate the intersection between design and consumption, and led me to question how I could be a more responsible consumer and designer.

As consumers, we value style, low-cost, convenience. We’ve created a market and design culture where quantity is valued over quality, and our treasures have short shelf lives — this is what I call single serve design. It’s a linear approach where the value of design depreciates quickly, and is thrown away even quicker.

We see evidence of single serve design in fashion, furniture, and architecture. Fast fashion chains like Forever 21 and H&M are packed to the ceilings with low-cost, disposable clothing. After a couple of wears, that ironic t-shirt you had to have makes its way into the dumpster or a thrift store bag to make room for the next clever slogan. According to a 2013 article from USA Today, Americans throw away 70lbs of clothing per person annually. And for those of us who donate our clothes to second-hand stores and organizations, there is less than a 20% chance that donated clothing will actually make it to the floor of a second-hand shop [The Atlantic]. Many of these pieces are down-cycled or shipped to developing nations, both of which create an incredible amount of energy waste. Additionally, second-hand shops often throw away the overwhelming amount of product received, sending donated pieces out the back door to the landfill.

single serve design

When it comes to furniture, IKEA is the largest retail furniture provider in the world — and its stores have been designed to keep that status. They’ve curated an experience for maximum consumption, including a café for us to carb up before hitting the marketplace. However, as Ikea floods the market with fast, low-cost furniture, the landfill waste is piling up in record numbers. In the United States alone, furniture accounts for 9.8 million tons of landfill waste every year [Reuters, 2011]. Let’s be honest — are any of us really going to repurpose a table that is $7.99 when we can just buy a new one?

single serve design

The scale of these problems may seem insurmountable, but Design solutions are within reach. The closed loop approach imagines enduring value beyond the Day One purpose of objects. The entire life cycle of an object is designed to minimize or eliminate waste.

The architectural term for waste of our American magnitude is “brownfield.” Brownfields are single serve buildings or sites abandoned of value and purpose. They are contaminated locations that create black holes in our suburbs and cities. In fact, the EPA estimates there to be 480,000 brownfields in the US alone.  They are former industrial sites, gasoline stations, fracking sites, and landfills. They are the disposable, fenced-in boarded-up sites in your neighborhood that have been sitting vacant and undeveloped for years.

single serve design

Brownfield sites are opportunities for us to choose to consume and create differently. For these sites to be redeemed, they must be resurrected. The contamination must be mitigated and cleared. This is not convenient, it is not fast, and it is not cheap. It demands a reframing of our values. For developers, entrepreneurs, and non-profits, choosing brownfield redevelopment blesses communities blighted by these sites and can facilitate stronger relationships with federal and local representatives. By participating in the resurrection of these sites, we can be part of the solution instead of contributing to the problem.

I invite all of you to join me in asking, “How can I be a more responsible consumer and designer?” Together we can shift the cultural landscape away from disposable, to enduring value.

 

Join us in discovering solutions. Engage in conversation with Danae and her team, and redefine the culture around us to a movement of repurposing. Sign up now to join in future webinars, Facebook Live events, and Slack channel discussions: singleservedesign.com

 

BuildDesignEnvisionWorship

Behind the Build: The Father’s House

April 19, 2017 — by Gino Beltran

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Location: Vacaville, CA
Divisions: Envision, Design, Build
Services: Master Planning, Architecture, Interior Design, Construction

the father's house

In January of 2016, The Father’s House in Northern California celebrated the Grand Opening of Phase 1 of our partnership, which included a brand new auditorium and children’s building. Over the last 19 years, this powerful community has grown from just a few people in a living room to now three campuses, including Napa, East Bay, and the newest — Vacaville.

Pastor Dave Patterson had a vision for the Vacaville location to take people on a mindful journey of God’s presence, no matter where they went on campus. “When we started this project, we had a verse in Exodus 33 that says, ‘God don’t lead us up from here without Your presence.’ Visioneering took that verse from Exodus and created a storyboard that took us from the Wilderness, right into the Promised Land, through the Red Sea with a Cloud of Glory — all of which was represented architecturally. It was quite enjoyable watching that process come to fruition.”

From the flaming “Pillars of Light” to the Children’s Ministry area called “The Passage,” every detail incorporated into the design and architecture of The Father’s House helps tell the story of God leading His people out of Egypt from a life of slavery to a life of freedom. It’s Pastor Dave’s desire that every person stepping on campus would feel the same hope of God’s chosen people in that story of Exodus.

Additionally, for the first time ever in TFH’s 19-year history they have a campus that’s publicly exposed — allowing them not only to thrive and grow in the area, but further their vision of reaching more people who are far from God.

“Since we’ve been in this new auditorium, we’ve seen close to 1,000 people added to this location. We’ve had people come who have never attended church, and we’ve been able to do some nights of worship and events at a brand new level.”

At Visioneering, we can’t wait to continue our partnership with Pastor Dave’s team into Phase 2 of the Vacaville campus, and keep revealing the God-story their community has to offer. Take a further look below Behind the Build of The Father’s House: