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Vintage Church 1

A metal building addition transforms a mundane 70's era church into a modern gathering spot

Founded in New Orleans in 2008 by Dr. Rob Wilton, Vintage Church has a decidedly modern character. After it merged with another church, Vintage took over that congregation's building in Metairie, La., and shoehorned its contemporary sentiment into a 1970's era mundane, brick building.

In April 2016, all that changed when the church opened the doors on its new, metal building addition that offers a visage to the community more in keeping with its heart. Adam Martin, faith division manager, Kent Design Build, Mandeville, La., led the project. "I'd known the pastor and leadership for over a decade," he says, "and we'd done dome smaller size updates and retrofits over the years."


The Project

The scope of work included adding a 300-seat worship space to the existing facility, designing a new gathering concourse for visitors to connect with the church in a welcoming environment, and updating the audio/visual and lighting components of the church to state-of-the-art levels. Also, the addition carved out new restrooms and as part of the renovation, redid the entire children's wing of the church. In total, the project consisted of about 6,000 square feet of work with about 4,200 of that in existing space.

"They came to us and explained what their needs were," Martin says. "They're a pretty high-tech driven church and wanted it to be very contemporary and industrial in style. They wanted a lot of metal, in part because they wanted it to be low maintenance."

Kent Design Build is affiliated with Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo., and Martin brought the company's experience with metal building systems to the project. The main portion of the addition is a metal building that attached to the front corner of the existing building, pushing out towards the street and borrowing space from the parking lot.

"The style is driven by the demographic of the church," Martin says. "They didn't want to look like a red brick church with white columns and a steep roof. In Metairie there is a lot of new construction and a lot of contemporary and modern architecture. They wanted to make a statement that 'we're different. We're new and want to keep up with the times.'"


The Building

"The addition is both conventional and pre-engineered," Martin says. "The higher roof is all Butler Widespan Structural System with a single slope to the rear. We wanted to use drywall to finish the interior, so we used conventional metal stud frame in all the walls. We didn't want an 8- to 10-inch girt wall."

The southeast corner became the new entrance, and it's defined by the larger overhang. That portion of the construction is conventionally framed.

Kent Design Build worked with Waldon Studio Architects, Columbia, Md., on the project. "We're both part of the National Association of Church Design Builders," Martin says, "and we reached out to them." Ravi Waldon, president of Waldon Studio Architects, says, "The overhang reaches out and gives you that sense of welcome. It provides a strong presence and defines the entrance as well as offering a sense of shelter."

Martin adds, "We wanted to do something that was different. The first thing that gets cut is something that doesn't have functionality. Most clients would spend the dollars to create something like that."

The MCN Building and Roofing Award judges concurred, identifying that overhang and its soaring presence as the defining characteristic of the addition. It transforms a simple, box-like addition into something much more dynamic.


Color Scheme

The excitement generated by the overhang is met by the color palette selected, which also supports the contemporary industrial aesthetic Vintage Church wanted to evoke. The metal building system features a Cool Gray panel that downplays the higher portion of the building.

The metal panel wrap on the front of the building and along the overhang is Matte Back and contrasts with a Silver Metallic soffit panel. Those panels were supplied by McElroy Metal, Bossier City, La. Waldon says, "The darker colors on the skin of the building are horizontally applied. It's almost laid on like shingles. The lighter soffit accentuates the line of the overhang."

The aesthetic and welcoming spirit evinced by the overhang gets carried through once patrons pass the threshold. "When you walk in the concourse," Martin says, "it's inviting. Welcoming. There's a coffee bar and café, and it's always a little loud with lots of activity."


The Schedule

Work in the church building industry, and you quickly learn that few congregations are cash flush, so a metal building system is often a great answer to a need. Waldon says, "We do a lot of pre-engineered metal buildings. It's just clean. It's not trying too hard to be something it's not. This project makes good use of color and simplicity."

The Butler building also allowed Kent Design Build to expedite the construction schedule and deliver the square footage at a favorable price. There was another impetus for the speed of construction, though.

Once the crews began demolishing existing spaces, the church needed to set up a tent in the parking lot. In the middle of a residential neighborhood, the noise from services became a concern and residents complained. The five month-schedule reduced the inconvenience for both the church and the neighborhood.

No matter the schedule or challenges, though, the Vintage Church is a great example of how a metal building addition can transform what is old and mundane into something new and vibrant. That story is exactly the story the church leadership wanted to present to the community.

Photo Credits: FrannyS Photography


Vintage Church, Metairie, La.
April 2016
Total square footage: 6,000 square feet
General contractor: Kent Design Build Inc., Mandeville, La.,
Architect: Waldon Studio Architects, Columbia, Md.,
Metal building contractor: Frey Construction, Walker, La.
Metal panel installer: Sison's SheetMetal, Slidell, La.
Metal building system: Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Mo., www.
Metal wall panels: Butler Manufacturing, and McElroy Metal, Bossier, La.,