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Lutheran Church of Hope - Ankeny


Shared By

Sara Johnson


  • General Contractor: Ball Team LLC
  • Charles Saul Engineering Inc
  • Mechanical Engineer: KCL Engineering LLC
  • Civil Engineer: Civil Design Advantage

Project Status


Year Completed

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Project Description


Lutheran Church of Hope is the suburban satellite campus of a large Evangelical Lutheran Church in the heart of Iowa. The church is set in a typical American suburban residential environment, where the church establishes a center of community.

The church is a place of sanctuary and connection within a rapidly expanding contextual environment composed of mixed-use development along an arterial street connecting multiple neighborhoods. The simple, white precast concrete form sits in stark contrast to the earth tone sided and shingled environment of the surrounding suburb.

The site and structure is organized at an angle to the grid of the city to create an activated relationship to the street. The sloping site allows the entire facility to have an accessible lower level adjacent to parking. The 24/7 chapel anchors the structure to the site, reaching upward with a symbolic cross, and reaching outward with a wall that forms the southern face of the main gathering space. These concrete forms are sculpted with a texture that creates depth through the undulating levels of sunlight and shadow throughout the day.

The gathering wall, which grows from the chapel form, gradually increases in porosity to provide views to and from the worship environment. These porous walls will always remain the primary focus, serving as an organizing device to inform facility growth over time. The volumes of the church are contained within a simple rectangular footprint wrapped by smooth, white concrete walls. Windows are selectively placed to provide daylight to interiors while animating the exterior in contrast to the neighborhood. Within the worship space, white interior folded wall surfaces continue to wrap space and volume and culminate in a glass cross that is revealed through light.

The twenty-acre site is developed with low-maintenance native vegetation and a pond to manage storm water for the larger series of residential and commercial lots surrounding it. Over time, a prayer walk and a memorial grove of trees will surround the pond.

The project represents phase one of development for a fast-growing congregation. As such, the programmatic requirements were to provide a series of multi-purpose spaces to establish a core that could be expanded over time. The programmatic functions include a 700-seat flexible worship space, a gathering space, 24/7 chapel, coffee shop, nursery, offices, and educational facilities. In addition, the ministry provides a kitchen and food pantry function for those in need within the larger community. To support this new satellite congregation, the structure creates a setting for connection, community and sanctuary — all within a modest budget.
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