Having outgrown the space available in their existing church building for parish activities – social events, religious education, community ministries, scouting – and seeking a flexible space for more contemporary worship opportunities – the expanding congregation of this church, located in a rural area north of Charlottesville, commissioned Hughes Associates A&E to design a new parish hall. The building’s 12,500 square feet are divided into two wings, each with a separate entrance, allowing its assembly space to be used by community-based groups without allowing access to classrooms and offices. The building is designed to be expanded by another 6,000 SF to the rear.
The parish hall’s assembly/dining room will seat 250 for dinner or 450 for a lecture or worship. The flexible space can also be easily reconfigured for the church’s annual craft show and other fundraising events. The congregation requested that the architecture of the building be “visually compatible and well-integrated with the existing church.” Brick with accent bands of darker masonry and a metal roof tie the two structures together stylistically. Signaling the space’s more social and educational function, a segment of the Assembly Room’s round geometry pierces the linearity of the brick wall. Inside, the shape is completed by a curved drywall bulkhead encircling the main dining and activity space. The ceiling soars to 19 feet at the center, with 12-foot walls on the perimeter to create more intimate spaces for smaller groups. The foyer space welcomes members and guests with plenty of storage for coats and umbrellas and immediate access to the fellowship and educational wings. Classrooms of various sizes open off a central corridor. The building is economically constructed using pre-engineered metal building frames clad with masonry and EIFS on the public side, and simple metal panels on the rear facing the forest.