Pleasant Hill Community Church

Pleasant Hill Community Church in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, is a historic, rural, UCC congregation with roots exceeding 125 years. The church desired to transform their 1960s building into a twenty-first century facility that would serve them for the next fifty years as well as reflecting a strong emphasis on missions and world-wide outreach.

Other guiding design principles in this project included: a desire to create a warm and inviting space to exhibit theological integrity with simplicity of form, to create a centrality to the worship space and to provide consideration for the needs of the older members.

Changes began with the addition of a glass enclosed chancel using a smaller opaque sacristy enclosure within as the chancel backdrop. In addition to the welcoming chancel facing the street, a tower and portico anchor the building’s corner, drawing visitors to the narthex entry.

Indoors, indirect lighting lifts the low ceiling and the sanctuary was turned 90 degrees with radial seating providing communion and focus on worship while referencing back to congregational roots of community. Theology is subtly expressed in peripheral views of nature (reminding congregants to engage the world) and a flowing path in the stained concrete floor from the baptismal font to a memorial garden observes the Christian pilgrimage and perseverance of saints. Quality acoustics were given priority to reinforce a strong music program and engage the hearing-impaired.

Sustainable initiatives included a comprehensive study of the building envelope, insulating values exceeding ASHRAE standards, geothermal HVAC, energy efficient lighting, daylighting, high performance glazing, low VOC finishes and materials with recycled content.

Overall, new and renovated spaces included a library, classrooms, office space, larger sanctuary with flexible seating and a larger Fellowship Hall.