Around AD 240, a large house was remodeled near the Euphrates River in Roman Syria. This house with a large common area and a secondary room for the baptistry served as the earliest designated church building known to historians. After the spread of Christianity, churches became a widespread structure seen almost everywhere. By the 11th century, grand cathedrals dotted European cities while smaller parish churches appeared in smaller towns and villages. Nowadays, churches serve as a neutral gathering space and are even multi-purpose. Aside from being places of worship, some are used for youth activities, meetings, and community gatherings.
As a structure that can function as a community space, some churches have been designed in a neutral fashion to accommodate various beliefs. Though they may be neutral in design, most of the churches in this list are known to be award-winning structures designed by some of the most talented architects in the nation. Aside from crafting award-winning work that successfully exemplifies a worship space’s grandeur, the architects in this list are associated with various industry associations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) among many other organizations.
Some of these firms have also created projects that have won several awards including the WFX Solomon Awards which recognizes churches and their partners for excellence in facilities, design, building expansion or remodeling, operational excellence, innovative use, and technical production. In addition to these awards, these firms have been featured in several publications including The New York Times, Architect Magazine, Building Design + Construction, Forbes, and many other well-known publications that either praise the firm’s years of experience, honed skill, and talented team, or the stunning worship spaces the firm has designed to last for the next generations to see.
If you are thinking about building a church, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.
AC Martin Partners
444 South Flower St., Suite 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90071
An architecture, planning, interior architecture, and research firm established in 1906, AC Martin Partners uses an integrated design approach to create timeless environments for the 21st century. With this design method, the firm has worked with various clients around Southern California and has gained various awards and features. Its most recent honors include the 2020 AIA Design Merit Award and a feature in magazines like Architect Magazine, Engineering News-Record (ENR), Interior Design, and The New York Times. After years of crafting excellent designs, the firm has built up a portfolio of eye-catching projects. This includes the Fish Interfaith Center and Wallace Chapel. Located in Chapman University, this chapel was conceptualized as a structure that carries artistic symbols that resonate with people of different beliefs.
The firm collaborated with five different artists to complete such a feat. With their help, the structure beamed with art that compliments the building. One great example of this would be the golden bronze metal sculpture portraying the setting moon and sun. set atop the altar, this sculpture plays with the light that enters through the skylight and interweaves with the interior lighting. The building has many other wonderful features, but its most prominent one is a 60 foot light tower that glows at night with a lantern-like illumination from backlit marble, as well as a pathway that integrates a three-part work of art featuring swirling blue lines on the floor.
663 South Cooper, Memphis, TN 38104
Established in 1995, Archimania has a team of architects and designers who helped design the American Red Cross building for the mid-south. Aside from this project, the firm has completed numerous other projects that have helped it gain 169 local, state, regional, national, and international or categorical American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards and citations from 1997 to 2019. Alongside the plethora of awards, the firm has also been recognized by various publications including Architect Magazine, Dwell, Memphis Business Journal, and Building Design + Construction among many other publications. With such recognition, the firm has worked with various clients across Memphis. One of its most notable projects is the Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Once a shelter for battered women, the new structure’s design focused on the worship space and the building exterior’s relationship to the street. Though it has a simple design, it has numerous windows that highlight a lighting system that mostly accentuates the pulpit with a single penetration of light.
Currently, the firm is managed by principals Barry Alan Yoakum and Todd Walker. While Yoakum is a professional who has received more than 50 awards which include AIA regional, state, and local design awards, a NOVA award, and a National Endowment for the Arts Citation. Walker meanwhile has been featured in over a dozen books and has published work in Architectural Record, Architecture, Builder, and The New York Times among many other publications. Like Yoakum, he is also an award-winning professional with over 150 awards.
2505 Parleys Way, Salt Lake City, UT
Taking a name which means ‘connecting’, Architectural Nexus is known for connecting with its clients, new technology, creative design ideas, and better ways of speeding up the design and construction process, living up to its name. Ever since its establishment in 2003, its portfolio has included various projects like the Payson LDS Temple. Located in a valley setting, it has landscaped walks and water features leading up to the structure made of precast concrete exterior and an interior adorned with marble and intricate finishes. Over the years, the firm has received numerous awards, such as the AIA Utah Honor Award, the AIA Utah Merit Award, and the Utah Design and Sustainability Award. Alongside such honors, the firm has also been featured in ENR, New York Business Journal, Architect Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Deseret News.
505 Market St. Suite #300, Knoxville, TN 37902
BarberMcMurry Architects is known to be one of the most experienced architectural design firms in Tennessee. After its establishment in 1915 and through the end of World War II, it was known for playing a major role in designing new buildings not just in Knoxville, but across East Tennessee and into Kentucky, North Carolina, and throughout the southeast. This experience helped the firm hone its skills in innovative planning, beautiful architecture, and interior design that brings value to its client and communities. One great example of the firm’s capabilities is the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Beautiful and timeless, this classically designed cathedral exhibits an intense attention to detail that is evident from the patterned Italian marble flooring, the cathedral ceiling’s painted coffers, to the size of the bricks utilized on the exterior. Its most notable feature, however, is the cathedral dome. Inspired by the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, this dome is 147 feet high and has an interior adorned with handcrafted art depicting 16 saints, the 12 apostles, Joseph, Mary the Blessed Mother, and Jesus Christ who stands at 25 feet tall with an arm span of 17 feet. The dome is crowned by a cupola with oculus that allows a shaft of light to beam down into the cathedral. The firm has been featured in publications like Dezeen, Contemporist, Tennessee Today, and Plataforma Arquitectura. Alongside such features, the firm has won dozens of architecture and interior design awards — more than sixty in the past ten years alone.
Barrett Studio Architects
3980 Broadway St, Suite 103-224, Boulder, CO 80304
A modern Boulder architect for 41 years, Barrett Studio Architects is known for drawing inspiration from nature while crafting work that harmonizes with its surroundings. One great example of the firm’s work ethic is the First Universalist Church of Denver. A circular mid-century structure that contains all of the church functions, this project involved designing three additions auditions to update the church’s image. It has many notable features and is a sustainable structure that has geothermal heating and cooling, a 54-kW solar photovoltaic array, heat recovery ventilators, high insulation, and high-performance glazing. Projects like these have earned the firm recognition from various publications including Boulder Magazine, Luxe, The New York Times, Boulder County Home & Garden, and Faith & Form among many other publications. Alongside such features, it has been honored with over 30 awards since its inception.
Currently, the firm is managed by founder and principal in charge of design David Barrett, FAIA. Named by AIA as Colorado Architect of the Year in 2002, and was inducted in the AIA College of Fellows in 2012. Barrett has penned articles and has given lectures on green design throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
You can see more from Barrett Studio on their website here.
100 N Merchant St., Decatur, IL 62523
A firm that has been around since 1929, BLDD Architects is a veteran firm of multidisciplinary professionals who have gathered years of experience. During this time, these professionals have designed eye-catching projects for various markets. Among these amazing projects is Vale Church in Bloomington. A modern 29,000 square foot space, it includes a worship space, classrooms for Christian Education, and a large gathering space. This project has received the 2019 Solomon Award. Along with this award, the firm has also won over 50 other honors from sustainability to interior design. These include the 2014 Chicago Good Neighbor Award and the 2012 Solomon Award among other honors. Alongside such awards, the firm has been featured in Architect Magazine, Herald & Review, Illinois Times, Bloomington Pantagraph, and Archinect.
Kansas City, Des Moines, San Diego
Established in 1970, BNIM is a firm popular for shaping the sustainable design industry and being an instrumental part in the creation of the LEED and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In this firm, the Living Building Concept was born alongside the creation of the world’s first LEED Platinum-certified Living Building. Because of this reputation, as well as its highly talented team, the firm has been featured in various publications including Metropolis Magazine, Architect Magazine, Architecture and Design, and Business Record. Alongside these publications, the firm has also collected various awards including over 500 awards for design, leadership, and planning. Recently, it won the AIA’s 2019 Central States Region award, the Iowa Award, and four Kansas Awards.
Among its many projects, its most notable one is the Lutheran Church of Hope. a 21,150 square foot building, it is shaped with two simple volumes the darker worship form handcrafted with clay tiles and the lower, single-story white metal-clad form serving as a support bar. It also incorporates a warm front porch with the incorporation of cedar and a cantilevered protective overhang.
You can learn more about BNIM on their website here.
901 Jones St., Omaha, NE 68102
Established in 1968, BVH Architecture focuses on providing clients with designs that enhance the communities it serves. As an industry veteran, the firm has been honored with numerous awards such as the 2019 AIA Nebraska Honor Award for Architectural Detail and has been featured in publications like Curbed, Architectural Record, ArchDaily Brasil, and ArchDaily Mexico. The firm has worked with many clients to make various stunning projects like the Lifegate Church at West Dodge Campus. A 19,000 square foot structure, the church has an open, non-compartmentalized design highlighting the use of glass features. The project scope included a complete interior overhaul, exterior retrofit, new cross and towers and a reworked entrance. Among its many notable features, its most notable one is the new lobby and gallery featuring glass elements that symbolize Lifegate’s connection with the community while showcasing the church’s dynamism.
380 St. Peter St. Ste. #600, Saint Paul, MN 55102
For nearly a century since 1922, BWBR has designed spaces that exemplify its capabilities in architecture, interior design, planning, and research. Among these spaces, its most notable one is the Eagle Brook Church in Woodbury, a site that can accommodate 3,000 congregants for worship, gathering, and support spaces. These include a bookstore, coffee shop, a small group of classrooms and meeting rooms, and a catering kitchen for events. Projects like these have earned the firm recognition from Forbes, Architect Magazine, and Prairie Business among many other publications.
Over the years, BWBR’s experience has also won it several awards, including the 2019 George Gunn Award for Excellence in Architectural Preservation and Historic Restoration and the IIDA Northland FAB Award, which recognizes and celebrates some of the most artistic and innovative interior design projects, innovative design solutions, and the integrated industry teams that continue to redefine what design can be and do. In the previous year, the firm also won the AIA Minnesota Honor Award and the AIA Illinois Prairie Honor Award.
720 East Pete Rose Way, Ste #140, Cincinnati, OH 45202
A member of the AIA, USGBC, and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Champlin Architecture is a 41-year-old firm offering unique design solutions to clients all around Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Over the years since its founding, Champlin Architecture has created a portfolio filled with designs that exemplify the firm’s intelligent research and strategies. One project that exhibits this honed ability is the Eastside Crossroads Community Church. A structure with a 2,100-seat auditorium, the process of crafting it involved successfully working around a strangely shaped, vacant 71,000 square foot strip mall even when the project needed 125,00 square feet of space. Projects like these have helped the firm win a number of awards. Its most recent award is the 2019 Solomon Award for a Contemporary Building Design Project for Religious Use. The firm has also been featured in various publications including Building Design + Construction, New York Business Journal, and Dayton Business Journal.
Craig Gaulden Davis
19 Washington Park, Greenville, SC 29601
A 63-year old industry veteran, Craig Gaulden Davis is the first recipient of the prestigious AIA’s South Carolina firm award. Alongside this, it has gathered over 115 awards for design excellence and is known for building the first LEED Gold building in South Carolina. These achievements have led the firm to earn features from magazines like Upstate Business Journal, Greenville News, and Bethesda Magazine among many other publications. Over the many years, it has built up a portfolio of stunning projects that exemplify the firm’s years of honed abilities. One of these notable works is the Salvation Army Ray and Jona Kroc Corps Community Center. A LEED Silver registered facility, it includes a multi-use theatre and conference center that supports worship, performing and visual arts, education, and community events.
Craig Gaulden Davis is managed by company principal Ed Zeigler. A graduate of Clemson University, he was awarded AIA’s 2010 Medal of Distinction and has been featured in the 2011 issue of Greenville Business Magazine.
201 Main Street SE, Suite 325, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Established by John Cuningham in 1968, Cuningham Group is known for having a committed group of leaders who guide the firm into designing eye-catching structures for respected local, regional, national, and international clients. Among its many projects, its most notable one is the 32,500 square foot Breck Chapel of the Holy Spirit. A multipurpose facility that includes a music room, lecture hall, and study area, the chapel was given special attention to design flexibility, lighting, and acoustics.
Projects such as these have helped the firm gain awards such as the 2018 AIA Minnesota 25 Year Award which recognizes completed building projects completed at least 25 but no more than 50 years ago. In 2016, the firm also won the AIA Honorable mention and the AIA Colorado Award of Excellence. Apart from such awards, it has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Forbes, Architect Magazine, ENR, and Building Design + Construction.
918 Dragon St., Dallas, TX 75207
Founded in 1981, Cunningham Architects has collected over 60 design awards for projects that exhibit uniqueness that still harmonizes with its surroundings. A great example of these unique works is the Cathedral of Hope Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas. A chapel with a highly sculptural design, its exterior and interior surfaces softly curve and wrap around the structure in all directions. Large glazed portals flood the entry vestibule with natural light while a dramatic skylight bathes the sacred space with light. Projects like these have helped the firm gain honors such as the Texas Society of Architects Design Awards’ 2019 O’Neil Ford Medal for Design Achievement and AIA Design Award’s 2018 Honor Award for the Burial Crypt for Cistercian Monastery among many other awards. Alongside such honors, the firm has also been featured in other magazines such as Texas Architect, Curbed, and The Wall Street Journal.
Currently, the firm is currently managed by founder Gary Cunningham. Working as an architect since 1976, Cunningham is affiliated with the AIA and the Texas Society of Architects and has been known to teach and lecture on The Work of Cunningham Architects while contributing to many architectural publications.
1334 East Van Buren st., Phoenix, AZ 85006
Studio DeBartolo Architects is most distinguished for its passionate approach to designing spaces that solve complex spatial problems with elegance and simplicity. This work ethic has earned the firm a myriad of awards. From 1997 to 2019, DeBartolo Architects has collected 34 local, state, regional, and national AIA awards and has been featured in magazines such as Architect Magazine, Dwell, Faith & Form, and IMAGES Arizona. Noting these accomplishments, the firm has a history of working with various clients from Arizona to New York and even in Africa. Among these many projects is a small, recently completed wooden chapel called the “Prayer Space” for Redemption Church in Gilbert, Arizona. Constructed completely from Douglas Fir dimensional lumber, this space highlights simplicity and stillness through the clever craft and arrangement of essential materials. To expand the space and emit light, both inside and out, gaps between the wood members were created. These also work to integrate acoustics, lighting, return air, and sprinklers. In 2018, this 1,000 square foot project won the AIA National Design Award.
Projects like these are guided by the experience of company principal Jack DeBartolo III, FAIA. A graduate of the University of Arizona and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, DeBartolo has been included in Architecture Magazine’s list of One of Seven Young Architects to Watch when he was only starting out in the industry.
Designs Northwest Architects
26915 102nd Drive NW, Suite #201, Stanwood, WA 98292
Established in 1990, Designs Northwest Architects has crafted complex designs for the residential, commercial, civic, multi-family, and ecclesiastical markets. Thanks to the experience gathered from these projects, the firm has gained a reputation for resilient and sustainable designs. Such designs have been guided by principal architect Dan Nelson. A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, Boston Architectural College, and Columbia University, Nelson has built up enough of a reputation to be featured in international, national, and regional publications including Northwest Home, Seattle Times Pacific Northwest, Grey Magazine, and Sunset. With his guidance, the firm has been given 22 Honor, Citation, and Merit Awards from the AIA Northwest Washington Chapter from 1996 to 2019. Aside from this plethora of awards, the firm has also been featured in various magazines such as Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Magazine, and many other international online publications from Vietnam, Japan, Greece, and Quebec.
Di Loreto Architecture
200 NE 20th Ave., Suite #200, Portland, OR 97232
From programming and campus master planning to interior design, cost estimating, and complete architectural design, Di Loreto Architecture offers full design services. Since its establishment in 1984, the firm has been crafting projects that have won awards such as the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)’s Excellence Award and the 2015 Faith and Form International Award. The firm’s most notable project is the St. Edward Catholic Church. Designed after the concept of a visible lantern, it is an 11,681 square foot structure shaped like a cube. With a solid base topped with a glass lens that encloses the sanctuary underneath, it resembles a lantern and provides daylight, transparency, and a primary Catholic image. The exterior, meanwhile, is made of simple and local deep black bricks and western cedar wood while the interior is made of white dry-wall and Douglas fir to honor both St. Edward’s traditions and its Northwestern location. Wood arches visible from the exterior meanwhile act as structural support with strong symbolism.
Projects like these have earned the firm features in numerous publications including Faith & Forum Magazine, Portland Architecture, Catholic Sentinel, and Architect Magazine.
2800 Third Ave., San Diego, CA 92103
Ever since its establishment in 1986 as Dominy + Associates Architects, domusstudio architecture has been known for designs that respond both contextually to the environment and to each client’s stated goals and desires. A great example of these functional and aesthetically pleasing structures is the First Presbyterian Church in Burbank. An urban church built in the 1950s, the project involved the installation of new windows and skylights that were well hidden but allowed the entry of natural light without seeing the source. The structure’s white palette meanwhile allowed the stained glass color to reflect on the surfaces. This open and welcoming church was honored with Faith & Form Magazine and The Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA)’s Honor Award as well as the AIA San Diego Chapter’s AIA Special Recognition Award.
The firm has crafted over 200 other sacred spaces over the years alongside projects for other markets. These projects combined with the years of experience it has gained and honed, the firm has been honored with various awards from the AIA and has been featured in various publications including Dwell, San Diego Home/Garden, and Worships Facilities Magazine.
Dynerman Architects PC
521 4th St., SE Washington, DC 20003
Though a small firm, Dynerman Architects PC has a versatility that exhibits its experience in crafting projects for various clients from the residential, institutional, and commercial markets. Among these projects, its most notable one would be the intimately designed St. Ignatius Chapel at the Calcagnini Contemplative Center. To give it a single block appearance from one approach, a rectangular parapet rises above the pitched roof. On the other side of the structure, the pitched roof is left visible to mirror the rooftops of other buildings surrounding it. These structures, topped with matching roofs are all made from galvanized aluminum that is typical of the region’s agricultural architecture. Its white stuccoed masonry meanwhile is riddled with small rectangular pieces of glass to allow more light into the room. Above is a double wooden beam that supports the ridge of the roof structure. As a place of worship for various beliefs, the chapel’s simple design avoids overt religious references.
Dynerman Architects PC has been honored with various awards including the Faith and Form/IFRAA’s 2017 Honor Award in Religious Architecture and the Virginia Society of Architects AIA Honor Award in Architecture. Among these honors, the firm has also been featured in publications such as Curbed DC, Home and Design, and Religious News Service.
Eskew Dumez Ripple
365 Canal St. Ste. #3150, New Orleans, LA 70130
Known for emphasizing its efforts on architectural research and innovation, Eskew Dumez Ripple has worked on several state-recognized research facilities, museums, and theater restorations. Since its establishment in 1989, this firm has been known for producing some of the most eye-catching and diverse projects that are unique in architecture, interior environments, and urban strategies. One great example of its work is the St. Pius Chapel and Prayer Garden. A structure that carries a simple, minimalist design, this chapel’s building massing was sculpted in a way that it extends into the interiors and is visually understood as a carved-away, light-filled volume that changes as the day passes. Alongside this project, the firm has a portfolio of structures that have gained the firm various awards. Most recently, it won Architectural Record’s Good Design is Good Business Award, two of AIA LA’s Awards of Merit, and even the AIA’s National Interior Architecture Honor Award.
730 Pacific Ave., Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Utah’s largest architectural firm established in 1976, FFKR Architects has been featured in ENR, Building Design + Construction, and Traditional Building among many other publications for projects like the Hartford Connecticut Temple. A result of combining local tradition with history, it is crafted in the classical American Georgian style and is garbed with cut granite, some of which was carefully proportioned, as well as detailed Ionic columns with carved capitals, entablature, and cornice. The building is also designed with a structural steel frame system overlaid with granite cladding quarried in China. Its interior, meanwhile, exhibits molding designs ranging from simple to large compositions and include carved wood moldings inspired by the old Connecticut State House. The overall design was based on research about classical styles and a study of New England’s rich architectural and religious history. With stunning projects like this, the firm has been able to gather numerous awards, including the 2019 Pinnacle Award of Excellence for Commercial Exterior and the 2018 Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards.
2808 Fairmount St., Ste. #300, Dallas, TX 75201
Established in 1982, GFF is a distinguished, award-winning, multi-disciplinary firm known for its ability to create memorable places. Among these is the most notable Chase Oaks Church – Worship Center and Education Building in Fairview, Texas. A new 36,000 square foot building that won the 2016 WFX Solomon Award, it is composed of four major areas: a kid zone, nursery/administration, and worship and youth. Designed to support about 500 seats, this structure has an open floor plan for the kid zone and youth area to provide flexibility for the church.
With projects like these, the firm has been recognized by many nationally known publications and has won numerous awards. Its most recent ones include the Texas Society of Architects’ 2019 Architecture Firm Award and a 2019 Solomon Award for Woodcreek Church in Richardson, Texas. Alongside this recognition, the firm is also associated with the AIA, the USGBC, and The Real Estate Council and Urban Land Institute.
Glavé & Holmes Architecture
2101 East Main St., Richmond, Virginia 23223
Since 1965, Glavé & Holmes Architecture has been nationally recognized for its architecture, interior design, and planning abilities. Currently, the firm has a staff of 70 architects, interior designers, historic preservationists, and supporting staff that maintain a diverse and integrated portfolio. So far, the firm has done work for numerous market areas including the higher education, cultural, civic, hospitality, and residential markets. Among these projects, however, its most notable one is the Pope Chapel for Christopher Newport University. Designed to mirror the campus, the chapel was built in a Neo-Georgian style and scale, employing proportional facades with pavilions demarking primary entry. Among its many notable features is the entry portico rendered with one-story fluted Doric columns and a full triglyph and metope pediment. Above the central lobby, meanwhile, is a paneled arched dome with an oculus showcasing the central cupola.
Projects like this have earned Glavé & Holmes Architecture 19 local, state, regional, national/categorical AIA awards from 1997 to 2019. Recently, it was also ranked by the ENR Mid-Atlantic as one of the Top Design Firms from 2017 to 2019. Alongside such awards, the firm has also been featured in The Daily Memphian, Style Weekly, and Building Design + Construction among other publications.
Groth Design Group
N58W6181 Columbia Rd., Cedarburg, WI 53012
Established in 1994 by Mike Groth, Groth Design Group has built up a team of LEED Accredited Professionals, project managers and designers, interior designers, construction administrators, and support professionals. With this team, the firm works with clients the firm works with clients throughout the U.S. to create projects like Shepherd of the Prairie in Huntley, IL. The church has a worship space with seating for 400, provides hospitality in a generous gathering space, new offices and education spaces and child care. Noting this project and its many other works, the firm has won numerous awards over the years. Most recently, it won The Daily Reporter’s 2019 Architect of the Year award, a 2019 ALA Award, and the 2018 Annual Religious Art and Architecture Design Award for Liturgical/Interior Design Award among many other honors. It has also been featured in Milwaukee Business Journal and Daily Reporter.
555 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Suite 501, Portland, OR 97214
A firm of over 60 design professionals, Hacker Architects creates designs that result in meaningful spaces that enrich their surroundings and amplify the connections between people and nature. Among these designs, its most notable one is the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon. A 17,600 square foot project completed in 2015, the structure’s design was inspired by the region’s active volcanic geology and the 20,000-year-old lava flow cutting through the 12-acre site. A mirror of its surroundings, the structure is a fusion of cedar, stone, and glass. This stunning and complex design was featured in the 2016 issue of Grey Magazine and has been honored with the 2016 Honor Award from Faith and Form and the Honor Award from the AIA Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture, as well as the 2016 Green Building by Design Wood Design Award. Like this project, the firm has crafted many projects that have added to its excellent reputation, and has been featured in magazines like The Architect’s Newspaper, Building Design + Construction, Portland Business Journal, Architect Magazine, and ENR.
Hennebery Eddy Architects
921 SW Washington St., Suite #250, Portland, OR 97205
A collaborative studio of architects and designers, Hennerby Eddy Architects is known for crafting responsive design solutions and avoids tying itself to a specific style of work. This work style, implemented since its establishment in 1992, has helped the firm become recognized by numerous publications like Architect, Dwell, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and ENR among others. In addition to these features, the firm has also collected 65 awards, including the 2019 Architect 2030 Award from AIA Portland and a ranking among Architect Magazine’s Architect 50 list. With such recognition, the firm has worked with clients from various industries in the Pacific Northwest. Among its many projects, its most notable church project is the Our Lady of Montserrat Chapel at Seattle Preparatory School.
Inspired by the ruins of early Jesuit Missions, this building overlooks Portage Bay in North Capitol Hill and has a design that blends with the warmth and simplicity of wood in modern Pacific Northwest architecture to create an open and inviting space for classes, individual reflection, and mass services. A structure with an open floor plan, its view to the north is also controlled by a horizontal wood screen that blocks undesired elements but opens up to the trees beyond.
420 North 5th St., Minneapolis, MN 55401
Established in 1953, HGA is a multidisciplinary design firm with a history of creating enduring sacred spaces. The legacy began in 1967 with the national AIA Honor Award for the Saint Bede’s Priory and has continued with the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum achieving the same honor in 2014. This legacy is the foundation of all work in HGA’s religious practice studio. In 60 years of designing spiritual places, HGA has won five National AIA Honor Awards in religious architecture. HGA is currently working with The Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis on their masterplan.
In 2018, HGA Design Principal Joan Soranno won the prestigious AIA Edward S. Frey Award, a national award which recognizes architects for their contributions to religious architecture and support of the allied arts. HGA’s work has been published in Architect magazine, The New York Times, Dwell, and other national publications. Among the team’s amazing projects is the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. A 141,000 square foot facility, this structure was named as 2017’s Best Cultural/Worship Project by ENR. It carries an elliptical form that cradles the chancel area and creates a column-free sanctuary with seating for 3,500. Atop the building are seven steel-clad sails inspired by the seven days of the Holy Week.
2221 Lakeside Blvd. Suite 1100, Richardson, TX 75082
A firm rooted in environmental ethics, this 49-year old firm has been focusing on crafting sustainable spaces, or “Living Architecture”, that center around people and are deeply rooted in the principles of ecology and sustainability. Among its many sustainable projects, its most notable one is the Cornerstone Chapel. A 108,000 square foot structure, it is made of natural materials locally harvested. Locally quarried stone walls provide a strong base while exposed wood trusses support the wood deck and clerestory glass windows in the Great Hall that bisects the building. Along with this project, HH Architects has worked on over 150 church sanctuaries and has done over 200 church relocations that exemplify the team’s honed abilities as a full-service design team.
The firm has also been awarded honors such as two of the 2017 WFX Solomon Awards celebrating innovative and inspirational church buildings and technology. HH Architects has also been featured in publications like the Live Design, Church Executive Magazine, Plataforma Arquitectura, and Engaging Spaces among many other publications.
100 N State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Established in 1965, Hobbs+Black Architects is nationally known for its architectural designs and its consulting services. Over the years, it has crafted many projects for various spaces including civic and cultural, education, healthcare, hospitality, industrial, living spaces, retail, senior living, workspaces, and worship spaces. One of their notable worship space designs is the Hopevale Church in Saginaw Township. A 55,000-square-foot space, it includes a 1,000-seat worship space, multi-purpose space, education classrooms, support spaces, resource room, a nursery, and a library.
Crafting such projects, the firm has won various awards including the 2020 AIA Huron Valley Honor Awards for Interior Architecture/detail for the commercial/institution category. In 2019, it was included in Architectural Record’s list of Top 300 Architectural Firms, and in the previous year it also won the ENR Southwest Regional Best Project Awards’ Merit Award.
322 First Avenue North, Suite #600, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Once known as a two-person design studio managed by Gary Johnson and Lonnie Laffen, this 31-year old firm has grown to become one of the fastest-growing architecture firms in the nation. Over the years, JLG Architects has designed various structures that have gained it titles such as ENR’s Design Firm of the Year, and rankings among Building Design + Construction’s list of top 150 Architecture Giants, and Architectural Record’s list of Top 300 Architecture firms in the U.S. as a recognized firm, it has worked on various types of projects. A great example of its abilities is a church project found in Alexandria, Minnesota. A project that was awarded the 2015 AIA Merit Award, the Living Word Lutheran Church exhibits a simple and modest design that highlights the traditional country church style. Possessing a gable style, it houses a sanctuary with seating for 375, a fellowship hall that can seat 300 people, and the administrative offices. Tying these three elements is a simple, flat roof containing the narthex.
Projects like these are guided by company CEO Michelle Allen. One of Prairie Magazine’s Outstanding Woman Executives, Allen has served as the past president of the AIA Minnesota and has held other positions such as being the Co-chair of the Council of Firms, and the Chair of the Annual Conference on Architecture.
Kodet Architectural Group
15 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis, MN 55403
A 37-year old firm, Kodet Architectural Group has served a diverse range of clients in various market sectors since its founding. Among these, the firm has completed education, public facilities, historic restoration, recreational, retail design, and religious projects. One notable project from this wide portfolio is the Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park. Originally designed by Edward Sövik, the design gained the 1963 AIA Honor Award and was featured during the AIA annual convention’s Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture (IFRAA) presentation and exhibition in Chicago. In 2013, the project won a Merit award in the category of Religious Architecture: Restoration. With projects like these, the firm has also been featured in other publications including ECM Publishers, Architect Magazine, and Finance and Commerce.
Kodet Architectural Group is currently managed by principals Michael Schellin and Daniel Kodet who are both award-winning professionals associated with various industry organizations.
Lenhardt Rodgers Architecture + Interiors
438 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034
Founded in 1948 by professionals T. Norman Mansell and Richard A. Lewis, the firm’s creations are rooted in a work ethic that involves creating purpose in designs for living, worshipping, working, and learning spaces. Among these, its most notable work is the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown. Designed to accommodate 350 visitors, it includes a music room, gathering hall, and prayer chapel. To maintain the “village getaway” appearance of the surrounding community, this project involved an addition and retained as much open space as possible. Over time, the firm’s projects have gained the firm The Community Design Collaborative’s 2019 Outstanding Team, Firm of the Year Award. Aside from this award, the firm is also a member of several industry organizations including the AIA, International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Green Building United, and Chestnut Hill Community Association.
Currently, the firm is managed by principals Joyce Lenhardt, one of the founding members of the Philadelphia Chapter of AIA Design for Aging, and Philip Rodgers, a visiting juror for Temple University College of Engineering and Architecture.
Live Design Group
2801 2nd Ave., South Suite A, Birmingham, AL 35233
Since 1987, Live Design Group has been known as a team of architects and interior designers who have crafted unique designs that cater to the needs and wants of growing organizations. Over the years, its portfolio has grown to accommodate churches, theatres, academic structures, and commercial structures. Among these projects, the Church of the Highlands is the most notable one. A multi-purpose building, this space accommodates conferences, events, and community gatherings. Along with its 2,400 seat sanctuary, it has administrative office suites, a commons area, a children’s wing with an indoor playground, kid’s classrooms, and a 250-seat auditorium for children. The second phase of the project also added a 1,000 seat theatre along with another commons area, a separate storefront entrance, and an additional coffee shop and bookstore area.
Crafting these projects has led the firm to collect a plethora of awards including the 2016 Worship Facilities Award for Church Building Design for Community of Faith. It has also been featured in various magazines including Worship Leader Magazine, Worship Facilities Magazine, and Over the Mountain Journal among many other publications.
Mark Cavagnero Associates
1045 Sansome St., Suite #200, San Francisco, CA 94111
Grounded on strong core values that focus on public and institutional projects, Mark Cavagnero Associates has been working on small-scale institutional, non-profit, commercial, residential, and workspaces since 1988. Since then, it has been featured in publications like Architecture, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times among many other magazines. Alongside these features, it has also won over 100 awards from state, local, national, and international organizations. As an award-winning veteran in the industry, it has built up a portfolio of stunning projects. One of these is Saint Mary’s Student Chapel.
The first dedicated religious space at St. Mary’s College High School, it is built with white concrete, glazing, Alabama limestone and light American white oak that harnesses natural light. This light then enters through a tall, vertical window featuring the Christian Cross atop a vertical slope 20 to 38 feet tall and through the window walls at ground level. With these light entries, the structure responds to the development of natural light throughout the day.
Marlon Blackwell Architects
42 East Center St., Fayetteville, AR 72701
Established in 1992, Marlon Blackwell Architects has designed award-winning environmentally responsive projects for its clients. One great example of its many projects is the Saint Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church. Located in Springdale, it was previously a metal shop building converted into a sanctuary and fellowship hall that highlights a bold form bathed in a white palette. This project was awarded the 2013 AIA National Award and has been featured in Architect Magazine. Like this worship space, the firm has many other projects that have been featured in magazines like Architectural Record, Building Design + Construction, and The Architect’s Newspaper. Alongside such features, MBA has also won several awards over the years, most recently the 2019 AIA Regional and Urban Design Award; and the 2018 National AIA Honor Award for Architecture.
This award-winning firm is currently managed by principal Marlon Blackwell. A graduate of Auburn University and Syracuse University in Florence, Blackwell has built up a professional reputation that has become known to many universities during his visits. Most recently, he was also awarded AIA’s 2020 Gold Medal—the highest honor that recognizes an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.
McCool Carlson Green Architects
421 W 1st Ave. Ste. #300, Anchorage, AK 99501
For more than 40 years, McCool Carlson Green Architects has provided planning and design services for civic, healthcare, and educational facilities that exemplify the firm’s ability to use natural materials, evocative textures, compelling lighting, dramatic forms, and other symbolic features. Among these projects is the Latter Day Saints Temple. The first and only LDS Temple, it is granite-clad and classically styled. A 5,500 square foot entrance meanwhile provided additional instruction and waiting rooms, servery, and an elevator. Projects like these have earned the firm awards such as Learning by Design’s 2017 Outstanding Award. Alongside such awards, it has been featured in Architect Magazine, Cordova Times, Inverse, and Alaska Dispatch News and is associated with several industry organizations including the AIA, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), the USGBC, and the Alaska Design Forum.
McKinney York Architects
1301 East Seventh St., Austin, TX 78702
Established in 1983, McKinney York Architects serves clients in Austin and the Surrounding areas. Over the years, it has been featured in magazines like Home & Architectural Trends, San Antonio Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal for crafting projects that are unique and exemplify the firm’s team of highly capable design professionals. With years of experience, this team has crafted various projects from churches and chilling stations to branded workspaces and second homes that exemplify the firm’s reputation for timeless design and expertise in tackling unusual projects. Among these projects, its most notable one is the Kent R. Hance Chapel. A 250-seat chapel that adheres to the Spanish Renaissance style similar to that of the historic structures around the campus, it has a simple form that focuses on the most important features for aesthetics. Thanks to projects like these, the firm has been honored with several awards. These include two of the 2014 AIA Austin Design Awards and 2013 Best in Class Award from the Brick Industry Association.
Currently the firm is managed by principal Al York and founding principal Heather McKinney who are both award-winning professionals with years of experience in the industry and associations with various industry organizations.
Pier 56, 1201 Alaskan Way #200, Seattle, WA 98101
Established in 1949, Mithun is known for crafting designs that honor the ecology, culture, and history of a place. Among these beautiful designs is Jesuit High School Chapel of the North American Martyrs in Sacramento, CA. An iconic structure greeting campus students, this chapel won the 2015 AIA Central Valley Regional Recognition Award and has a strong yet simple geometry, enduring materials, and soaring ceilings that provide a spiritual anchor for the campus. Completed by the firm’s Los Angeles studio, Mithun | Hodgetts + Fung, the design emphasizes acoustic excellence, the play of light, and expansive liturgical space.
Mithun is an integrated design practice providing architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design and planning from offices in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. It has won numerous awards including the 2020 Buildy Award from the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM), and has been featured in publications like Dallas Business Journal, Los Angeles Business Journal, and Architect Magazine.
316 West Fourth St., Sixth Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Founded in 1985, MSA Design has grown to expand its reach through Cincinnati, Columbus, and Orlando where they have over 50 employees. With this team, the firm has crafted spaces that demonstrate the firm’s honed abilities in architecture, interior and graphic design. The Sycamore Presbyterian Church is a great example of the firm’s abilities. Designed to accommodate various styles of worship including traditional and blended, the new sanctuary is most recognized for maximizing the use of natural light. For projects like these, the firm has been recognized with honors such as Cincinnati Design Awards’ 2019 Honor Award and featured in numerous publications including the Daily Jeffersonian, South Florida Business Journal, Cincinnati Business Courier, and Building Design + Construction.
These achievements are not only the result of years of hard work from the team, but can also be credited to the guidance of owner and principal Bill Baker. A graduate of Ball State University’s Architecture and Environmental Design program and Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Baker has over 20 years of experience in design firm leadership. He is also a board member of the Ball State University Department of Architecture Professional Advisory Board.
159 South Jackson St. Suite #600, Seattle, WA 98104
Recipient of more than 200 international, national and regional design awards from programs across the AIA and IIDA, Olson Kundig is known for its collaborative design practice that expands the context of built and natural landscapes. The firm creates spaces that blur interior and exterior boundaries, allowing for extensive engagement between people and their surroundings. One great example of their work is the Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Seattle, WA. Here a mosaic of clear, translucent and colored glass creates a beacon of light in the chapel, while a small meditation garden adjoins the chapel and fellowship hall, balancing openness with outreach.
Now in its sixth decade of practice, Olson Kundig is led by five owners – Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Kirsten R. Murray, Alan Maskin and Kevin M. Kudo-King – who are supported by a staff of over 175 in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
1056 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06510
A firm that has worked on iconic buildings like New York’s World Financial Center, Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, Hong Kong’s International Finance Center, and San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower and Salesforce Transit Center, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects has been around since 1977. After participating in such projects, the firm has been recognized in various publications such as The New York Times, The Architect’s Newspaper, World Architecture News, Architect, and Curbed SF. over the years, it has been well-known for crafting projects that demonstrate its team’s practice of providing quality designs and service. With such a prime team, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects has also won a plethora of awards. Its most recent ones include the 2020 Architecture Merit Award for the United States Institute for Theater Technology. Among its several projects, its most notable church project is the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel at the University of Louisiana. Aligned with the place from which Pope John Paul II spoke during his 1987 campus visit, this church has an octagonal plan that respects the liturgical direction of Vatican II. It also has a limestone base crowned by a faceted copper roof topped with a 4.5-meter-tall cross. Inside, the church also has a ceiling soaring to 65 feet and allows sunlight to enter through perforated aluminum chancel screens on all sides. A building designed to achieve Silver LEED rating, this church has been featured in Architecture Magazine.
1811 4 Mile Rd., NE | Grand Rapids, MI 49525
A national architecture and engineering firm established in 1962, Progressive AE has a team of 200 professionals and a reputation as one of the leaders in architecture and design. As a nationally known architect, Progressive AE has a portfolio filled with projects for different markets. When it comes to designing churches, its most notable work is St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church. A rebuilding project, this 37,998 square foot project uses clerestory daylighting and stained glass art. Portraying a divine presence through texture, materiality, and height, its simple yet beautiful features connect visitors to nature and spirituality. This church is just one of the many projects Progressive AE has designed for the public, healthcare, housing, industrial, learning, retail, senior living, workplace, and worship markets. Over the years, these projects have won the firm awards such as the 2019 Outstanding Design, Architectural Portfolio, American School and University, the 2017 WFX Solomon Award for Best Church Building Design, and the AIA Grand Rapids Building Award among a few other awards. Alongside such awards, it has also been featured in publications such as Power Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and Building Design + Construction.
Robert A.M. Stern Architects
One Park Ave., New York, NY 10016
A 265-person firm, Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) has a very diverse portfolio of projects spanning its 50-year history, and has established an international reputation as a leading design firm. Over the years, RAMSA has gained and honed its experience in residential, commercial, and institutional work for clients in Europe, Asia, South America, and throughout the U.S. Among its many projects, one of the firm’s most notable religious buildings is the Immanuel Chapel on the campus of Virginia Theological Seminary. A LEED Gold building, this chapel compliments the Seminary’s collection of historic buildings and reflects restrained Virginia traditions of the campus’s older structures. Grant Marani, Project Partner, led the design.
With projects like these, Robert A.M. Stern Architects has received international recognition and has been given numerous awards and citations for design excellence, including the National Honor Awards of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Recently, the firm won the 2020 Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers Award and ENR’s 2019 Regional Best Projects award. In addition to these awards, the firm has also been featured in magazines like The New York Times, Forbes, Architect Magazine, and Business Insider among many other publications.
64 Pleasant St., Watertown, MA 02472
For more than 65 years, Sasaki has pioneered interdisciplinary design through the integration of architecture, interior design, planning and urban design, space planning, landscape architecture, and civil engineering. Their practice fosters diverse perspectives, open exchange, and deep engagement with the clients and communities they serve.
Sasaki’s global body of work spans scales, disciplines, and industries. This breadth enables them to attack problems multi-dimensionally and develop full-spectrum solutions that have a lasting positive impact on humanity. Their work has garnered over 800 local, regional, national, and international design awards. One such award-winning project is Sasaki’s design of the Sacred Heart University Chapel. Carrying a design inspired by a tent symbolic of the long history of pilgrimage within Christian and Jewish traditions, its architectural design emphasizes integration and diversity through the juxtaposition of contemporary and traditional materials and forms. Complementing the chapel is a series of distinct open spaces and contemplative gardens for formal events and informal gatherings.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
14 Wall St., New York, NY 10005
Established in 1936, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has built up a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary team that functions from a network of creative studios across the world. With such a capable team, this firm has become famous for crafting some of the world’s most technically and environmentally advanced buildings and significant public spaces. Some of these spaces include projects for Walt Disney, Penn Station, and the One World Trade Center. Projects like these have earned Skidmore, Owings & Merrill recognition from dozens of publications including The San Francisco Chronicle, Business Insider, Daily Hive, and Architizer. Along with these magazines, the firm has also won a plethora of awards over the years. Some of its most recent ones include the 2020 Urban Catalyst Award, the Architecture Award from the AIA Washington DC Chapter, and the Award of Merit from the American Society of Landscape Architects New York Chapter.
When it comes to building churches, its most notable project is the Cathedral of Christ the Light. Located in downtown Oakland, it has a building form based on an inner wooden vessel contained within a veil of glass—both of which are anchored on an architectural concrete base. This design achieves an ethereal level of lightness and luminosity through the highly innovative use of modest materials and sustainable design strategies.
Sparano + Mooney Architecture
57 West 2100 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Sparano + Mooney Architecture is a 23-year old firm associated with the AIA, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), and LEED. With such affiliations, it’s to be expected that the firm is known for offering sustainable, contemporary architecture for clients in California and Utah. These structures have led to the firm’s receipt of various awards and honors. Just recently, it earned a place in the 2020 list of Mountain Living’s Top Architects and Designers. In the past year, it also won AIA Utah’s Merit Award. Alongside such honors is recognition from publications like Dwell, Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, and even magazines from other countries like Tokyo’s A+U, Berlin’s Bauwelt, London’s World Architecture, Hong Kong’s Hinge, and Milan’s L’Arca.
Possessing such honors, this firm has been included in the creation of important cultural projects like the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Barcelona Agricultural Museum, and the LAX Former Air Traffic Control Tower. When it comes to designing churches, the firm has also gained honors like the National AIA Faith and Form Religious Architecture Award for its work on Saint Joseph The Worker Catholic Church. Powered by renewable energy from solar panels, this building’s design re-uses fundamental elements of the old building and incorporates new steel, copper, and handcrafted wood components that reference the parish’s mining and construction history.
Studio RED Architects
1320 McGowen St., Houston, TX 77004
Though the firm was only founded in 2004, Studio RED Architects has a team that has a combined 107 years of industry experience. With these years of experience, the firm has been recognized for providing clients around Houston and Denver with practical solutions and innovative designs. A great example of Studio RED Architects’ capabilities is the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church which won the 2018 Solomon Award. A renovation project for the existing 10,700 square foot structure, the renovation, and modernization improved accessibility, increased natural lighting, and improved the audibility of the spoken word and music by modifying sanctuary finishes and chair loft walls. These projects have helped the firm gain recognition from publications like Houston Business Journal which named it One of the Best Places to Work and One of Houston’s Most Influential Architecture Firms. It has also been featured in ENR, Arquitectura u Empresa, and New York Business Journal.
This firm is currently led by founding partners Pete Ed Garrett and Trung Doan. This combination provides Garrett’s reputation as a highly recognized architect who has been enlisted by Universal Studios and Disney to support revolutionary entertainment concepts while Doan is an architect with 16 years of industry experience to contribute to the firm’s projects.
The Beck Group
1601 Elm St. Ste. #2800, Dallas, TX 75201
Since 1912, The Beck Group has built up a unique approach to architecture and construction. This approach has led to the firm’s reputation as a designer with projects that have been recognized as trendsetting, groundbreaking, and award-winning. Among these amazing projects is the First Baptist Church Odessa. A 55,000 square foot structure, exhibits an open design through the large, glass-enclosed lobby and “commons” that connects the new 1,500-seat worship center with the existing buildings.
Projects like these have gained the firm sacred-space related awards like the 2016 Faith & Form Award for Religious Architecture. In the same year, it also took the 7th rank on the Top 30 religious facility architecture firms list. Apart from this recognition, The Beck Group has been featured in various nationally known publications and has been honored with many other awards such as AIA’s 2019 Dallas Honor Award. As an award-winning designer, this veteran firm has designed and built churches for congregations all over America and even Asia.
436 West James St., Ste. #100, Lancaster, PA 17603
Around Lancaster, Talmage, and Mountville, Tono Group is known for its straightforward and efficient integrated project delivery process. Over the years, it has developed, designed, and constructed spaces that exemplify its 19 years of experience in the industry. One great example of these honed skills is Crossway Church. A 40,000 square foot church in Millersville, this structure includes worship, educational, gathering, and administrative building components that mirror the historic agricultural use of the site through the utilization of indigenous forms and materials. Tono Group has been recognized with several awards such as Dauphin County Planning Commission’s 2019 Premier Project Award and has been featured in various magazines. These include PennState News, Central Business Journal, and Sprudge. Recognition like this can mostly be credited to the cross-disciplinary team of industry professionals that include architects, interior designers, builders, developers, and real estate brokers.
1230 Peachtree St. NE Ste. #2700, Atlanta, GA 30309
Planning, sustainability, architecture, and interior design are the disciplines that tvsdesign has honed for 52 years. During this time of working for clients around North and South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, the firm has gathered awards such as two of the ASID’s 2017 Georgia Design Excellence Awards and another of the same award for 2016. As award-winning architects, the firm has built up a portfolio of complex and eye-catching projects like the University of Tampa’s Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values. Designed to evoke spiritual, sensory, and emotional responses from its visitors, it has skylights that allow light to play with stained glass and light scattering prisms. At the top of the main hall are visually “free-floating” wood glue-laminated arch connections that give the appearance of unobstructed openness to the sky. The firm has been recognized by publications like Atlanta Magazine, Curbed Atlanta, New York Business Journal, and Architectural Digest.
Currently, the firm is managed by president and CEO Janet Simpson. A graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design, Simpson has been featured in numerous publications including Marie Claire, Curbed, and Design Intelligence. Alongside these features, she is also a member of several industry organizations and has become a panelist for industry-leading events such as the AIA’s annual conference, AEC Tech, ICSC Centerbuild, and Design NXT Week, where she discusses innovation and leadership in design firms.
Wheeler Kearns Architects
343 South Dearborn St. Ste #200, Chicago, IL 60604
Established in 1987, Wheeler Kearns Architects has been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Curbed, Building Design + Construction, and U.S. Builders Review for crafting projects that exhibit the firm’s highly skilled team of architects. Over the years, it has built up a portfolio of projects for various clients in Chicago. Among its many projects, its most notable one is the Chapel of St. Joseph for The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois. Once a 1937 gymnasium, this project is the Shrine’s first climate-controlled sacred, sheltered space able to house over 6,000 weekend worshippers and over 300,000 pilgrims during the annual Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration in December. Upon entering the chapel, visitors are greeted with familiar materials and forms recalling traditional basilica forms that can be seen in the early churches in the New World. Built with wood, metal, and clay, it also has side chapels highlighted with gossamer canopies of wire mesh and warm wood paneling.
Dan Wheeler and Larry Kearns are to be credited along with their highly skilled team for crafting community-driven projects such as this. While Wheeler is a professional with awards like the CCAIA Young Architect Award and education from the Rhode Island School of Design and a two years study in Rome, Kearns was elevated as a Fellow of the AIA in 2016 and has been known to lecture on Building Systems and Materials and Methods for AIA Chicago and UIC.
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