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Solomon Awards 2019 – First Baptist Church Tulsa (Church Building Design – Traditional and Contemporary)

First Baptist Church Tulsa was a unique and challenging project in a downtown setting, encompassing three city blocks, with the new construction site nestled between five existing multi-story buildings. Within the blocks owned by the church, each of the buildings were constructed at different times spanning six decades, thereby having distinct styles of architecture for the new design to relate to.

The new elevations and façade respectfully took elements from each distinct period and introduced them within the new design.

Throughout the years, a multitude of additions resulted in as many as 72 different level transitions within the buildings, and remote parking lots in-accessible to the main worship lobby. In addition, and prior to HH Architects involvement, the church had just completed a multimillion dollar renovation of the current children’s education building. This resulted in an unfortunate lesson learned from the church, as after multiple master planning meetings it was determined the best road forward was to relocate the children to the new proposed location.

The church was excited about the final location, as it allowed them to combine ‘education’ and ‘worship/hospitality’ in their most desired locations. Unique design challenges came about from many arenas including incorporation of existing four pipe chiller system and piping, and working around and above an existing fiber communications line. That said, thorough documentation of existing conditions is an absolute essential item, even though the church had limited drawings available to the design team. This required many hours of field documentation and per HH Architects requests, surveyors hired by the church to provide datum elevations to the design team allowing matching of floor levels for the new construction.

Through diligent preplanning and forethought, the master planned design location for the new children’s and adult education building allowed the children and adults to stay in their existing location until their new building was finished, thereby mitigating any disturbance to the church’s operations during construction.

In addition, it provided a seamless connection from remote exterior parking lots, through a newly designed receiving lobby, to connect to the existing worship and lobby spaces – something which the church had been dreaming of for years.

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