Traditional Texas Church Completes 2,500-Seat, State-of-the-Art Worship Center

Ziegler Cooper Architects is pleased to announce that it has completed a $23 million addition to and renovation of First Baptist Church, located in Pasadena, Texas, as part of a multi-phased campus expansion. The church began occupation of the current site in May of 1999 with construction of Phase I, a 68,000 square feet multi-use building. Phase II, completed in December of 2003, included an additional 73,000 square feet and expanded their capacity to 1200 seats. The combined Phases I and II include education and fellowship spaces in addition to the worship center.

The recently completed Worship Center, designed by Ziegler Cooper, includes both a 2500-seat Worship Center and a 500-seat Chapel. The new Worship Center adjoins the church’s existing building, creating a substantial Commons area between the two spaces. An important design goal for the project was to provide a cohesive worship experience for congregants at FBC and this expansive Commons became the key link between the various spaces of the church. The Commons succeeds in integrating the education wings, administrative wing, music complex and fellowship areas with the Worship center. The worship tradition at FBC utilizes a large choir and live orchestra and centers around Biblical preaching. The new Worship Center provides the church with a modern design that complements their traditional worship experience.

“We could not be more honored and excited to have been part of this project. It was such a joy to work with Dr. Charles Redmond and the exceptional staff that is so integral to the ministry at First Baptist Church Pasadena. Our goal was to provide a design that expressed through its form and the spaces within, the strong, consistent Gospel message of the church and be a support to the wonderful Christian community that it serves. We pray that we provided a wonderfully exciting design for them, one that will be of benefit to them as they continue to grow and expand their ministries in the community” says Senior Principal, Paul Lodholz, AIA, LEED.

Working with Acoustic Dimensions out of Dallas, the design team developed a circular seating arrangement with floor level and terrace seating that is gathered around a platform placing the preacher in the midst of the congregation. The multi-level platform accommodates an orchestra of 50 and a choir of 200. The visual focus for the design is a significant baptistery located front and center. Following the desire to have a traditional element in the design, the baptistery form and detailing features a cross in a surround of wood set in a deep blue. The 24’ foot wide projection screens flank the central composition and provide optimum viewing for all levels of the auditorium.

The new chapel is designed using traditional materials: stone, brick and stained glass are set in a framework of a rich, glue laminated wood structure. The 500 seat space provides a venue for weddings, funerals and special services. The adjoining prayer room offers a contemplative space for daily meditations and is the backbone for the development of the personal prayer life for members and staff.