With a mission statement that emphasized reaching out to the community, the Mission Hills Church increasingly found that the physical facility, in which they had resided for years, was confounding their goal. The average citizen somehow was confusing the façade for fact rather than getting to know the heart that lay beneath. Not a surprising prejudice, given its dated and out of favor aesthetic, and as such they knew it was something that had to be addressed. Given their current facility (an aging 1960's sanctuary with several additions made throughout the years), desire to grow, and with an eye to being responsible to the funds they had available, they charged the architect with the task of creating a new face to the heart within. After several iterations a plan began to emerge, it was decided that rather than creating a grand artifice that the existing facility could be broken down into a campus like approach. This would allow for a more open dialogue to the architecture and for the new visitor a less stately reading of church. This approach then began to allow for additional elements to develop and helped to move the facility from the back of the site toward the public boulevard - metaphorically bring the church to the community, a physical manifestation to the very essence of their mission statement.
The first move was to create an outdoor patio at the front of the church that provided a visual signpost to the community as well as helping to create an internal community within the church - a place for the congregation to gather after each service. Internally the dark and dreary interiors were addressed often by simply looking to the past for inspiration. The main sanctuary is a case in point with the original being stripped down to its base structure revealing a series of beautiful glu-lam beams, T&G ceiling, and long linear skylight at the apex of the "praying hands". Given these good bones it was the architects role to convince the owners that rather than creating a typical black box, common in church design today, that the program should embrace the existing and let current technology solve the issues associated with natural light. Through demolition, stripping of paint, and uncovering of windows the full open experience, one must imagine was the original intent of the architects, was brought back to life, albeit with a more modern sensibility.