The 10 Church Architecture Terms You Should Know

As you prepare to search for a professional architect for your new church design and construction project, it can be difficult to sift through the jargon and get to the core of what is being said. Familiarizing yourself with architecture language can give you the advantage in the conversation. Here are the 10 church architecture terms you need to know before starting your new church design:

1. Design-Build

This is a common term in commercial architecture, often referring to an architecture firm that pairs with a construction company for specific projects. At Vanman, it refers to a team-based approach, from start to finish, that brings savings and an elevated final product to the client.

2. Integrated

Integration refers to the contractors and architects working together from day one while listening and understanding the client’s wants and needs. This includes a transparent channel of communication through the new church design from the client to builder and vice versa.

We believe in combining all necessary and desired functions in one cohesive design. This creates a final product that is both in-sync and beautiful.

3. In-House Advantage

The in-house advantage refers to the benefit that comes to the client from having architecture and construction working side by side throughout the entirety of the project. Logistical and construction issues can be nipped in the bud when design and build teams are in the same room before a single shovel goes in the ground. When both parties come together, it leads to more coherence throughout the project.

4. General Contracting

General contracting is the act of providing or coordinating all necessary material, labor, and services required throughout a building project. A general contractor is the “construction site supervisor” ensuring the right people are in the place with the appropriate equipment. They also have a thorough understanding of building timelines and set the overall expectations before the project.

5. Technology Integration in Churches

Having technology integrated into your church means having the latest and most efficient sound, lighting, and gadget design for your project. At Vanman, we consider technological advancements at the beginning of each project. We want your church architectural project to feel cohesive in all of its pieces.

6. 3rd Space or Community Fellowship

No matter which term we call it, the community fellowship area is an inviting, adaptable space that provides a multi-purpose opportunity for both the community and the congregation. Its intention is to encourage worship in a welcoming environment. This space is often considered an addition to the sanctuary where services are held, but integral to an all-encompassing, friendly church environment.

7. In-Budget Design

The “in-budget design” church architecture term is used when the firm tasks an estimator throughout the design phase to ensure your dream is feasible. Getting your project completed within the guidelines of the budget is one of the most important aspects of the build at Vanman. It’s our way of showing dedication to your project.

8. Commercial Architecture and Construction

This church architecture term is used to describe the process of commercially designing and constructing a building intended for public use. Churches have the unique opportunity to fall under this umbrella based on membership requirements. What this term means for a firm is that it’s going to use the same techniques and considerations as it would for another public space such as a school.

9. Sustainable New Church Design

Commonly referred to as “green building,” sustainable new church design refers to the structure and its application as resource-efficient and environmentally responsible. The lifecycles of buildings can vary, but a green build is created to be energy efficient with materials that can be re-used.

When it comes to sustainable design, Vanman has been practicing this in our commercial architecture and commercial construction since 1957 – we call it stewardship.

10. Schematic Design

The first phase of any project is master planning. The next step is a detailed schematic design. This is going to establish the expectations and goals of the new church build.

Our preliminary design process provides drawings and “character sketches” that you can use to drum up excitement in your congregation. These are also sufficient enough to obtain your conditional-use permit, which 90% of churches require.

If you’re ready to jump into your project’s masterplan or speak to an architect, Vanman is ready to help. You can browse our services and let us know when you’re ready to speak to a professional with your new vocabulary of church architecture terms.