As part of a renovation and expansion project, the client’s leadership team envisioned a new entry courtyard and gardens that would foster individual spiritual growth, support the core mission of the church and enhance the well-being of the congregation and the community at large. Inviting, curving asymmetrical lines flow through the new building’s interior and extended through the glass curtain wall and into the courtyard’s pavement banding and woven paver design. The courtyard balances space for large gatherings with the creation of small contemplative nooks and areas for people of all ages to explore. Symbolic details in pavers, stone, plant types and colors provide meaningful visuals on a person’s journey from the reality of the parking lot to the metaphysical space of worship in the sanctuary; the courtyard is the brief pause in a sequence of welcoming, path finding and spiritual journey. The link between interior and exterior provides incredible views from all levels of the building, tying together the building and the site.
The idea for the playscape was initially conceived during a landscape master planning process led by Saiki Design but funding priorities at the time were focused on completing the entry plaza and landscape portions of the master plan. The Castlescape was implemented during a second phase of construction after the courtyard and provides a play opportunity for people of all ages. Inspired by the site’s historic use as a castle and grounds in the late 1800s, the design features an arcing layout of patios and walks, and uses castle-like materials. The congregation and design committee provided a long wish list of program elements, which resulted in a patio, play spaces for children ages two to five with slides, sand play, creative play and a reading circle, as well as a longer embankment slide for older children and adults. Castle turrets and slides interconnect in a modern interpretation of Chutes and Ladders, taking advantage of the site’s steeply sloped embankment and using the topography to create overlooks, nooks and challenging passageways. The design also includes a cobble drainage swale moat for stormwater management, as well as wooden boardwalks with a draw-bridge.