ChristChurch Presbyterian plans modern Peachtree building

Atlanta’s ChristChurch Presbyterian will soon break ground on a dramatic new sanctuary at 1740 Peachtree Street in Midtown. Unlike a traditional Southern or Gothic worship facility, the new church will feature a modern design that will incorporate much of the site’s existing building and complement its urban setting.

Gertler &Wente Architects, a New York City-based architecture firm, is serving as lead designer and Architect of Record, and Atlanta-based Tunnell-Spangler-Walsh & Associates (TSW) is the local architect.

Senior pastor Rev. Dr. Paul Gardner said, “We are outgrowing our current facility and cannot adequately expand our congregation and reach our city without additional space where we can worship and meet together, invite people to join us and provide gathering spaces for youth, classes, meals, counseling and ministry work.”

Four years ago, the congregation purchased a three-story office building at the corner of Peachtree and 25th Streets, just a few blocks from their current location, and began the process of clarifying what they wanted to do with the site. Church members agreed they wanted to incorporate as much of the existing building as possible into a new facility, rather than destroy it.

“We researched and interviewed a number of architecture firms,” said Carter Reames, chairman of ChristChurch’s building committee.  “We were familiar with Gertler & Wente through their innovative repurposing of a 1913 Manhattan parking garage into a spectacular new church for Redeemer Presbyterian Church. We believed they could bring fresh and exciting ideas to Atlanta to transform our vision for a new sanctuary into a beautiful design. TSW recently won a national award for the design of a new contemporary worship facility for Woodstock Community Church, and having them on the design team brings the local expertise that’s so important in a project like this.”

The two architecture firms collaborated on a design that expands the existing building on its south side and elevates the roof and windows above a 925-seat sanctuary.  Seating inside the sanctuary will be accomplished through stackable chairs, rather than permanent pews, making the room flexible for other uses apart from worship services.  The Peachtree Street side of the building will feature a subtle tower with three crosses facing north, south and east. A courtyard will help transition visitors from the busy city streetscape to the more contemplative areas of the building.

Jerry Spangler with TSW said the new church will also feature a coffee shop facing Peachtree and an art gallery on the building’s south side. “The exterior will be clad in a large-scale porcelain panel along with the brick, glass and steel.  Passers-by will know it’s a church, but they might have to take a second look to be sure,” he said.

Work on the new church is set to begin in June with a construction time of 18 months.

For more about the church, visit christchurchatlanta.org.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley is the editor of Atlanta Intown.