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Solomon Awards 2018 – Emmanuel Christian Center; Spring Lake Park, Minn. (Church Building Design, Traditional and Contemporary)

Multiple construction phases over decades left Emmanuel Christian Center’s facility with narrow corridors, patchworked infrastructure, and a maze-like building.

The design response to remodel over 100,000 square feet, then, needed to cast a vision for hospitality with an introduction of space and light into the building on multiple fronts.

By cutting a gracious and light-filled thoroughfare through the center of the education and administration building, the whole facility was connected with consistency in experience and openness in design. The changes position the identity of ECC as having a foot in both the urban culture of Minneapolis and the suburban influences that it borders.

With the integration of this identity from architecture of the surrounding communities (like an abstracted Minneapolis cityscape within the student collaborative learning space), the design is both interactive and relevant. These identity specific components are reflective throughout the building.

Newly installed monumental stairs and skylights give a clear pathway for navigating the two levels within the church’s multiple expressions of ministry. Sophisticated and creative way-finding elements were incorporated through color, pattern, architectural installations, and traditional signage elements.

The design and layout emphasizes and reflects a story of growth and development in children’s education inspired by the intersection of technology and nature. Specifically spaces were crafted to support care of children with special needs and a growing music and creative arts education program. Large group spaces came from small classrooms and previously separated spaces became grouped.

All of it designed to speak the words “Welcome Home” to the surrounding community. With a state-of-the-art 2,300-seat auditorium and top-to-bottom renovation of their kids’ spaces, Emmanuel Christian Center has brought consistency and innovation to their once confined space with a facility that is ready to accommodate and adapt to their growing community.


• Updated 81,290 square feet of classroom/gathering space for all ages to reflect current education models, a welcoming hospitality experience, and clear wayfinding

• 7 Multi-use large group gathering spaces ranging in size from 60 occupants to 580 with new audio/visual infrastructure throughout that is specifically designed to the sophistication of it’s audience.

• Pew and carpet replacement in the existing worship center with theater seats for improved and intimate sight lines & sounds.

• Architectural and technological solutions to address grown security concerns for children’s education areas. • Upgraded, energy efficient HVAC and lighting throughout affected work areas

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