St Andrew Presbyterian Church's existing social hall and commercial kitchen were located in the basement with no windows, were not ADA accessible, and were generally in need of major renovation. At the beginning of the project, members of St. Andrews had pre-existing ideas for the new addition, including where it should be located. MSB Architects explored this concept but discovered an issue with the property line. Additionally, all the other social activities of the church were located at the opposite end of their current facility, making this location less than ideal. We suggested placing the addition on the opposite side and in front of the existing church. This placed all the social activities in the church on the same side of the building for better-shared use, while also situating the building more prominently on the site.
Social halls are often challenging spaces because they are essentially large rectangles that typically lack architectural interest. To make the hall more interesting to its occupants, the center third of the ceiling was vaulted and a prominent window was placed in the center. This reduced the perceived size of the social hall and provided a focal point in the space. A cross was installed in the center of the window, then backlit so it can be seen along the main street in the evening.