Stucco on Block : Creative Use of Masonry : FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
First United Methodist Church
The new First United Methodist Church Children's Ministry Building and Welcome Center is all about people. Its prominent lakefront location clearly proclaims that children and families are the priority in assuring the future of this church, and the two colorful playgrounds in front of the building amplify this priority. Classroom space for the Church Pre-School and elementary grades is more than doubled; new classrooms are included for the children's parents. The top floor includes multipurpose meeting spaces for up to 800 people, and the Welcome Center provides a prominent new entry for everyone. Together with the adjoining Fountain Courtyard, the Welcome Center is the fellowship crossroads of the Church.
The logistics of maintaining the daily activities of a five thousand member church on a tight construction site made load bearing concrete masonry the perfect building system. Either city streets or church buildings surround the new facility; space was limited on all sides. Material stockpiles were not to be – daily "just in time" deliveries were often the norm and Cement Products and Supply kept the material flowing as the three story main building rose from its foundations.
The architectural layout was free flowing with curves, skews, angles and shapes, plus a few square corners for variety. The north playground is defined by a serpentine concrete masonry retaining wall, and the adjoining north wall of the building is a gentle curve. Arched window openings in the Welcome Center reflect the existing church sanctuary while curtainwall glazing within the archways slopes outward from bottom to top to enhance the interior acoustics of the Welcome Center. Unit masonry was easily shaped to every line imagined by Jon Kirk, AIA, of SCMH Architects; the resulting composition of creative room shapes and flowing building lines gives the children and adults of this church unique spaces far beyond the institutional cookie cutter expectation.
This creative new building was also called to "fit in" to the mid-century architecture of the existing church, featuring simple stucco accented with an ashlar pattern cast stone. Cultured Stone® Fossil Reef Coral Stone veneer provided by OldcastleCoastal proved to be a perfect match for the color of the 1950's cast stone façade of the Sanctuary. The ashlar patterned Coral Stone evoked the larger ashlar units of the original church without being an outright copy, enabling new and old surfaces to be distinct but absolutely complimentary. At the playground level, the more intimate scale of the new Coral Stone seems to be in keeping with the smaller scale people of the playground, the people from whom this building takes its inspiration. The sound of their voices at play proclaim the joy that this new building has brought to First United Methodist Church in Lakeland.
Please record your scores on the 2016 MAF Masonry Excellence Awards Score Sheet.
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