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Solomon Awards 2018 – First Baptist Church Covington (Church Sanctuary Design, Non-AVL technology focused, Traditional and Contemporary)

When First Baptist Church Covington was founded in 1904, it was the only Baptist church located in Covington, Louisiana.

Through the years, the church and its congregation experienced rapid growth, presenting First Baptist Church Covington with an issue- how do you serve your ever-growing congregation in a space that is no longer functional?

Due to the church’s popularity with the surrounding community, they were quickly out growing their space and wanted to be able to not only meet the needs of their current congregation and immediate community, but plan for the future of the church as well.

The goal for First Baptist Church Covington was clear- create a space that helped solve their rapid growth and ever-changing needs of the community, but also provide a place where the congregation and community could build and experience life-changing relationships. The church did not have relevant fellowship space; it was very congested, and the prior Worship space did not accommodate current desires for more modern technology approach.

We used this opportunity to refine their image as that relational body with the addition of a new Worship Center, Education Space, and Commons Expansion; which allowed First Baptist Church Covington to more than exceed their aspirations. The new Worship Center seats 2,400 and includes a choir room, hospitality spaces, full AVL production suites, green rooms and workshops.

The Worship Center was designed to be a highly flexible space and meet the needs of the Choir, Praise Teams, and Pastors. The platform includes a modular system on rails that can easily transition between a choir and praise set-up depending on the desired worship venue. The design incorporates the Cross and the Baptistry as focal points which celebrate the church’s focus on spiritual growth and culture of the church.

Multiple LED screens and tunable RGB LED lighting are used throughout the Worship Center in the clouds, wall panels, and house lighting to dynamically create the appropriate atmosphere for modern productions.

A state-of-the-art sound system fully compliments the lighting and screen technology whether it is choir, band, or more traditional organ; allowing maximum use of the church’s production needs.

Tying the campus together is the new Commons Expansion which makes three different connection points to the existing building, providing increased circulation and multiple opportunities to gather together with fellow believers throughout the campus. Part of the new connection incorporates the original Cross element at the entry as a major identifying feature, creating a natural, open hub where the congregation now says, “let’s meet at the Cross.”

A key driver for the Commons design outside of the Worship space, is the use of multi-colored glass to embrace the rising sun in the East to create interesting pattern play throughout the space. It is a reference to the heritage of the church creating a sense of sacredness with a modern “stained glass.”

Due to the emphasis that First Baptist Church Covington places on baptism, we incorporated an outdoor baptistry into the plaza design as a major element. Along with seating areas and other gathering spaces this plaza and other outdoor courtyards extend the fellowship space of the campus creating further opportunities for connection and building relationships.

The use of colored lights and water features throughout these spaces creates additional visual interest which draws you in. The church annually hosts a River Baptism Event over the Labor Day weekend, and this year this event was able to be hosted on campus using their new outdoor baptistry, creating a special memory for the congregation as they welcomed 44 new believers to the church body.

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