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Door Creek Church sanctuary addition

Door Creek Church

Madison, WI

Phased construction and budget adjustments enable uninterrupted ministry; construction includes outdoor amphitheater and chapel for transcendent experience

Door Creek Church (formerly Buckeye Church) was planted on Madison’s east side by Bethany Church in 1965. After nearly 15 years in its second location, Door Creek needed to respond to the still-growing demands of their ministry.

A reference from NCI-Roberts client Blackhawk Church, which was also planted by Bethany Church, and the firm’s robust church building portfolio led Door Creek to select NCI-Roberts Construction for an addition that would more than double their existing space, plus renovation work to tie it all together.

Reduced budget for increased outreach

Intense collaboration among the building committee, NCI Roberts, and Strang resulted in a robust design and construction plan within the constrained budget.  Mid-way through the planning phase, the team was able to reduce project costs by another $800,000 to make funds available for the congregation’s community outreach activities. The change was made without reducing the size of the addition.

Phasing allows uninterrupted worship, ministry

With careful staging and scheduling, NCI-Roberts split construction into phases that allowed worship services and church ministries to flourish, uninterrupted, throughout the 12 months of construction.

Severe winter weather required modifications to project sequencing, but work continued, and NCI-Roberts maintained the schedule. They also had to construct temporary shelters to enclose the building on time, despite delayed delivery of structural steel.

Front entry before and after
Covered entry
Three levels of windows
Chapel addition
The site design matches the topography of the land and honors the new chapel as the focal point of the campus.
Welcome center
The new skylit atrium provides a welcoming entrance, complete with a Welcome Center and a variety of seating areas for people to share fellowship over a cup of coffee.
A full service café, with a ceiling animated with clouds and special light fixtures, helps to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere
Floor to ceiling windows extend the surrounding landscape into the café and atrium, and bathe the interior with daylight
An arched stone fireplace at the northwest end of the atrium provides a focal point
Upon entering the atrium through the northwest entry, one is greeted by comfortable lounge seating around the warmth of an arched fireplace, with a view of the café and the landscape beyond
The carefully crafted stone fireplace anchors the atrium while helping provide definition and privacy for the Fireside Room without the use of doors
The existing building was extensively remodeledfor a seamless and imperceptible transition from new to old
Picture rails integrated into the design of the interior, and gallery quality lighting, provide excellent opportunities to display art
Excellent acoustics, daylight streaming through three levels of windows, and views of the landscape come together to create a truly transcendent chapel
The use of clear, birch plywood clouds and exposed structure to animate the ceiling plane was an economical design strategy that resulted in aesthetic virtue

An iconic, transcendent chapel

The 300-seat chapel with 30-foot ceilings is the focal point of the addition and the entire church. Ideal for traditional services, weddings and funerals, it is also an excellent venue for music. Reflective planes that define the space allow congregants to hear themselves singing. Clear birch plywood clouds, exposed structural beams and curved knee braces, originally selected because of budgetary constraints, contribute to the acoustics. Deep overhangs were designed to reference existing roof forms, and three levels of windows allow cool daylight to diffuse into the space.

Even the site plan was designed to highlight the chapel. Radial geometry of the parking lot and driveways follow the contours of the site’s topography, broken up by landscaping for a pleasing foreground that matches landscape views in the background.

Surprise give back

Despite the budget reduction in the planning process, NCI-Roberts was able to deliver a give-back to the Door Creek congregation in addition to facilitating tax savings through owner-direct purchasing.

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