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This major expansion project for a rapidly growing suburban congregation is predicated on a design that reflects three major components of the church’s identity. Three glass elements extend from a masonry wrapper and house the library, lobby, and sanctuary spaces. These elements in turn represent learning, fellowship, and worship, the three main activities of the building’s users. The design extends along the highest part of the site, connecting to the existing multipurpose facility, while remaining central to the existing parking on the site. The building takes advantage of a sloping site to reduce the building’s footprint by stacking classrooms and offices beneath the major rooms of the main level. A large community room sits below the lobby and acts as a central hub for the lower level. The peaked roof elements are made of inverted trusses that allow for dramatic interior spaces. The sanctuary is designed in a radial fashion with a surrounding balcony that allows a greater sense of intimacy for the space even though it nearly doubles the current capacity of the building.


Columbia Presbyterian Church


Columbia, Maryland


33,366 SF


Renovation and addition to original structure




Educational + Cultural



Internal Team: Charles Alexander, Phyllis Cook, Jessica Damseaux, Eric Lewis

Design Team: Scott-Long Construction (Contractor), Schlenger Pitz Associates (Mechanical Engineer), RMF Engineering (Consulting Engineer), Skarda and Associates, Inc. (Structural), Christopher Consultants (Civil)