Originally posted here on 9/30/2013. Updated 2/13/2017 by Jody Forehand.
You probably think you know who Visioneering Studios is. You’ve heard of them from other churches who have used them over the last fifteen years, you’ve listened to them speak at church conferences, you’ve seen pictures and blog posts on social media, and you’ve read articles in publications. But chances are, if you haven’t talked to anyone at Visioneering Studios lately, you don’t know who they are today, or who they are becoming tomorrow. You don’t know how Visioneering Studios has grown and changed over the last decade. We approach projects differently than many firms, strongly believing in the importance of a multi-disciplinary process that integrates real estate, design, project management, and financial analysis, utilizing our experienced team members, affiliates, and strategic partners with backgrounds as architects, designers, planners, construction managers, real estate developers, facility managers, and financial analysts. It is our goal to help churches navigate the complex maze that is involved with modern design and construction projects by being your ministry partner from dream to dedication day and beyond, utilizing our unique ENVISION.DESIGN.BUILD processes. With close to 50 people in various offices around the country, our team has your project needs covered. So in the interest of getting the word out, I’m going to do a little mythbusting.
Myth: Visioneering only works with big megachurches.
Fact: Visioneering has worked, and continues to work daily, with churches of all sizes from 50 people to 20,000+. In fact, we work with many church plants to help them get in their first building or onto their first site. We also work with many churches wanting to launch multi-sites, often in smaller venues. One of our newest offerings is in real estate consulting, which can help churches find their first piece of property (and not make a huge mistake by “getting a great deal” on a piece of undevelopable wetland), or helping larger churches make the multi-site jump, utilizing demographic data and trend analysis to help determine where the next site should go.
Myth: Visioneering just comes up with master plans and pretty pictures.
Fact: Visioneering started with one employee and a couple of contracted consultants who primarily provided master plans. So technically, this used to be true, and is still partially true… Visioneering still starts most of their engagements with amazing master plans and pretty pictures. But Visioneering takes it so much deeper now. In fact, Visioneering’s name is a mashup of “engineering God-inspired Visions” for the churches we work with, and that is still what we are doing today…just on a whole other level. Visioneering’s team of 50 professionals around the country provides real estate consulting (to find the right property or help clients leverage their property to its highest and best use), master planning, full architectural services, interior design, construction management, and turnkey design-build.
Myth: Visioneering’s design fees are expensive and so are their buildings.
Fact: Don’t let your eyes deceive you. When people see pictures of some of our projects they are often blown away by the look and the great design, and instantly think these buildings must be expensive. But creative design doesn’t have to mean expensive design…paint colors other than beige still cost the same as beige. Don’t assume you can’t afford Visioneering. Call us and let our team explain how our process doesn’t have to cost more, and can provide more value that you realize. Visioneering’s design fees are competitive with the national market, and when you compare apples-to-apples on scopes of services (disciplines included) and the creativity of the designs, it is easy to see the differences. It’s the same with our buildings. We’re not trying to win the race to the bottom and be the Wal-Mart of the design and construction world, but we realize that each church is called to be good stewards of what they have been entrusted with. We believe that includes being good stewards of the outcome — not just what is initially the cheapest. Can you design or build a cheaper building? Yes, but will it achieve your church’s goals in your community? Cheapest doesn’t equal best stewardship (see this post on Architectural Evangelism). Good designers can create a smaller building by being more efficient with the space layout, and the quickest and best way to save money on any project is to build a smaller building. Intentional designers can provide the most bang for the buck by limiting the “wow” design elements to areas that have the most impact, while using simpler products and design elements in other less critical areas of the building or site. Strategic designers can create outdoor rooms that are usable and attractive for many parts of the year as expanded lobby and amenity areas, at costs exponentially lower than enclosing those spaces in steel and concrete and having to heat and air condition them.
Myth: Visioneering only designs new buildings on undeveloped sites.
Fact: The large majority of Visioneering’s projects are on sites that have already been partially or fully developed. In addition to “green field” sites, Visioneering has extensive experience with projects involving expansions, renovations, and interior upfits for churches of all sizes across the country. In fact, as the paradigm of church facility development shifts toward smaller venues and multi-sites, Visioneering is increasingly working on Tenant Improvement projects within shopping centers and warehouses where the site is developed and the exterior shell buildings are complete and largely unmodifiable (see pictures of our project for Elevation Church in a former K-mart and furniture warehouse space).
Myth: Visioneering is a southern California design firm, not a national facilities solution provider.
Fact: Visioneering started in Irvine, California as a design firm and still has an office there, but over the years, Visioneering has grown from one employee in Southern California to a national company with almost 50 employees located in multi-disciplinary offices in every time zone in the continental United States to better serve your project. Visioneering has won national awards as both an architect and a builder. Currently, we have architectural licenses in about 40 states and can provide construction services in about 30 states — but we’re not done yet. If we’re not in your state yet, don’t worry, just call us and we’ll begin the simple process of getting registered and licensed there to serve you too. We’re still growing to meet the needs of new clients across the country as their facilities solution provider, in whatever form that may require. Beyond just architectural designs or construction management services, Visioneering offers turnkey services to help churches manage projects from dream to dedication day, and beyond. In addition to world-class designers and construction managers, Visioneering also provides real estate and Development Advisory Services before ever laying pencil to paper, to help your church figure out your budget, scope, and schedule even if you don’t know where to begin. Our ebook on this subject is available for free download. Being “trusted stewards of your story and space” also means helping you steward the financial and facility resources God has blessed your church with. Through our Envision process, we can help your church determine what spaces they need, when they will need them, and how to phase expansion so that it is financially feasible without robbing funds from ministry programs.
Myth: Visioneering only works with churches.
Fact: While it is true that a large portion of Visioneering’s past and current workload is with churches, Visioneering does serve clients in other market sectors, such as other non-profits like Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Christian schools, and charitable organizations. We also provide design and construction for general commercial and retail sectors such as restaurants, offices, hotels, and mixed-use developments. Our experience is in creating environments that people desire to visit, and that helps keep our designs sharp and on the leading edge of industry trends. No matter the sector we work in, the design trends often translate seamlessly to our church projects, which are themselves geared toward creating destinations that people want to visit because they are culturally relevant and designed to respond to the greater context of their community.
So, if you worked with Visioneering in the past or had someone else tell you who Visioneering is, chances are you only know who Visioneering used to be. It’s time to find out for yourself who Visioneering is now, and who we are becoming. Like any healthy, growing entity, Visioneering has evolved over the years: master planner…design architect…architect-of-record…builder…integrated project developer…total facilities solution provider. Keep your eyes open though, because what we are today may not be all that we are tomorrow.
If you have any other questions about whether Visioneering’s capabilities as a facilities solution provider are a good fit for your project, give us a call or leave a comment here.