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Body Lawson Elevates Religious Communities
with Productive, Mixed-Use Building Projects

eTradeWire News/10622593
Leveraging church real estate holdings to better serve community needs, architecture firm 
Body Lawson Associates unveils a range of new projects in design and under construction

NEW YORK - eTradeWire -- The architecture, interiors and urban design practice Body Lawson Associates Architects and Planners (https://blarch.com) has announced several new mixed-use building projects commissioned by communities of faith in the metro New York area. These works, along with recognition by local and national organizations, underscore the firm's expanding client base and growing reputation and among religious facility owners as an experienced, successful architect designing varied housing and commercial settings around thriving houses of worship.

The Body Lawson Associates projects include Iglesia de Dios Senda de Bendicion in the Bronx, with a church on the ground floor and 43 low-income residential units topped with green roof terraces. The wellness-oriented complex integrates new mixed-use space with a community center and a recreation room, leveraging valuable real estate to fund profitable new developments serving essential community needs, including mixed-use buildings with senior housing, affordable residences, commercial spaces for retailers and other job-creating employers, as well as expanded recreation and social offerings for neighborhoods.

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Another example of this approach is Lagree Baptist Church, which is converting a retail and manufacturing building in the Bronx, New York, to encompass a new church along with retail, office and community facilities. The congregation has also adapted an audio-visual room so that church leaders will be able to broadcast services and events in the sanctuary to parishioners that are homebound or unable to visit the church during the pandemic. The new sanctuary, with a sloped floor and a 34-foot clear span, occupies about half of the first floor, adjacent to retail storefront spaces. Above are a fellowship hall and a church offices on the second floor, and rentable office spaces on the third floor, all topped with a planted green roof and a playground. The new facilities, now under construction with completion expected in March 2022, are served by two new elevators and two stairwells, encouraging greater use and healthy activity for churchgoers while energizing the neighborhood.

Versatile Church Campuses

Similar to this revitalizing approach, the leaders of Union Baptist Church reassessed their small, 1929 church building and envisioned upgrades and improvements to more appropriately welcome in a new generation of members. In a multi-phase transformation that included new, ground-up construction, Body Lawson Associates devised a state-of-the art sanctuary to accommodate congregation members in an amphitheater-type hall with full stage lights and an upper level, in addition to the original church structure. The design concept then connected the buildings with walkways and paths to make the grounds accessible for all, including those with limited mobility or using wheelchairs.

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This "versatile church campus" featuring a lobby large enough to host events and a congregation hall can be used not only for services but also for meetings, or potentially events or concerts held by outside groups. In the future, Union Baptist Church may rent out this space as an additional income stream, as well. In a second phase, Union Baptist Church will expand further to add a family life center, complete with classrooms and reading rooms, as well as a bookstore and potential café.

Another major transformation is Holy Trinity Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. Slated for demolition in mid-2022, the existing worship facility will be replaced with an expanded new church integrated with an apartment building above. The church will include a main sanctuary, a fellowship hall where congregants meet, new classrooms, as well as a new video recording studio to support virtual services. Connected to the sanctuary, the production center will allow for recording and broadcasting live services as well. In addition, a multipurpose room next to the lobby can be used for community amenities.

In this way, carefully executed mixed-use expansions of church facilities offers a path to growth, better community offerings, and wider audiences for worship.

Contact
Adam Sullivan
***@ccsullivan.com


Source: Body Lawson Associates
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