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Solomon Awards 2018 – Houston’s First Baptist Church Cypress (Church Building Design, Traditional and Contemporary)

Providing an Open Door for All

Working closely with the building committee and stakeholders, Kirksey realized the church’s vision by providing a welcoming space for all. Incorporating southern hospitality, we created front and back “porches” to convey a sense of openness and flow throughout the space, all centered around a community hearth – the fireplace which faces both inside and out. Creating space for gathering and community reflects the church’s vision of being a “thriving and diverse community of real people experiencing real life together.”

The open and transparent main lobby space provides great visibility for first time visitors to easily see how to get their kids checked in, where to get coffee, and quickly find the entrance to the worship center.

The Cypress campus of HFBC originally met at a middle school in 2013 and quickly grew in attendance. Purchasing the land allowed the campus to continue to grow as the neighboring communities develop. As a first-phase building, HFBC Cypress serves all ministries of the church – from infants to seniors, community events, administration, and worship. The building is designed to be adapted as the church and community continue to grow through future expansion of the worship center and reallocation of the education spaces as adults and high school students move to future buildings.

HFBC Cypress is located immediately adjacent to one of the largest school complexes in the area. The church has had an immediate impact on the school, as the teachers held an assembly at the worship center prior to opening for their first school year. They look forward to providing an after-school and weekend home to the students and faculty.

Church on the Prairie

Unlike the historic prairie churches that stand in contrast to their natural environment, our design team envisioned Houston’s First Baptist Church Cypress, located on the Katy Prairie near Houston, to have grown in place – formed out of the ground and rising more organically out of need with materials familiar to its surrounding – much like the church body and congregation itself. The multi-story, 100,000 square foot church resides on 36 acres and consists of a 1,300 seat worship space, six infant classrooms, one indoor playroom, ten toddler and Pre-K classrooms, ten K-5 classrooms, one large middle school and high school gathering area, 11 administration offices, space for 14 workstations, one conference room, two counseling offices, and a reception area.

As a multi-site church, it was important to the building committee that the design of the new campus reflect their unique personalities while maintaining the traditions and values of the larger church family. The interior spaces share the same natural, organically grown elements as the larger campus narrative, playing on abstractions of nature through flexibility, color, and texture for inspiration.

Wayfinding Through Nature – Connecting with God as You Grow in the Church

For HFBC Cypress, the growing congregation meant more families with children. To create easy-to-find paths and designate age-appropriate spaces, the team designed nature-inspired graphics and wayfinding for each of the separate classroom areas: infants (earthen land), pre-K (organics), K-5 (sky), and junior high through high school (metals). The church staff finds the designations extremely helpful as they direct church members and children alike, contributing to a more welcoming environment — especially for new or first-time visitors. Children and students have loved their new spaces.

Kirksey continues to support Houston’s First Baptist Church Cypress as the congregation grows. As they acquired additional land, we helped them develop outdoor recreational areas and improve the site as the infrastructure around the growing community continues to develop. Campus Pastor Jason Swiggart says, “We continue to reach people all around us – all amazed at the beauty of the building.”

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