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Nontraditional design: A progressive, media-driven church required a contemporary building to fit its growing congregation

One of the fastest growing churches in the United States, the progressive, media-driven Bay Area Fellowship Church in Corpus Christi,Texas, undertook a two-phased construction project on a 90-acre (36-hectare) site. The 92,000-square-foot (8,547-m2) Phase 1 includes a 2,700-seat sanctuary, children's ministry, youth worship center and nursery. A future phase will include an atrium gathering area, additional education space and a 5,000-seat auditorium.

According to Samantha Schwarze, AIA, with BBA Architects, Brenham, Texas, the church came to them looking for a new building that would seat their growing congregation, with an aesthetic that would suite their nontraditional approach. The lead design architect, Darren Heine, AIA, designed the church to have a wave form, since it is located right near the ocean and it has a fresh, energetic outlook you wouldn't expect a church to have.


To provide a contemporary look, Lewisville, Texas-based Metl-Span supplied 37,131square feet (3,449 m2) of its CF Architectural Wall Panels. Additionally, Bristol, Conn.-based Morin Corp supplied 9,954 square feet (925m2) of F12 soffit panels for the project.

"The design for the church reflects its need for a building that represents its nontraditional approach to ministry," said Ben Boettcher, AIA, principal and project architect with BBA Architects. "The church leaders were familiar with a prominent local project that used Metl-Span-the Corpus Christi Bayfront Arena-and liked the look."


The project design was also driven by budget considerations. "We had large expanses of wall with no need for lots of interior finishing," Heine said. "The Metl-Span panels allowed us to keep the back side exposed with minimal studding. It was a very economical and attractive solution.

"Metal was also chosen for its modularity and ease of installation, as well as it low-maintenance properties," Schwarze said. "The aesthetics worked for the young forward-thinking, media-driven church. Metal is a cool material to bring that point home, that it's not a brick and mortar church in any way."

The new facility was a major asset for the church's goal of reaching 10,000 people by its 10th anniversary. When needed, Phase 2 will be a mirror image of Phase 1, including the wave roof, which will really accentuate the church's formal front entry, Schwarze added.


Bay Area Fellowship Church, Corpus Christi, Texas

General contractor: Don Krueger Construction Co., Victoria, Texas

Architect: BBA Architects, Brenham, Texas

Installer: Engineered Metals Co., Kerrville, Texas

Metal wall panels: Metl-Span, Lewisville, Texas,

Soffit panels: Morin Corp., Bristol, Conn.,