Section 3. GENERAL DESIGN FACTORS
Contextuality. In conformity with the guidelines of NAVFAC DM-1
Architecture, the general character of these facilities should be contextual.
The structure itself and the spaces surrounding it should enhance the overall
coherence of the total environment. Use of materials in harmony with, rather
than in contrast to, those of neighboring structures is recommended. Landscape
elements should provide transition rather than isolation.
Distinction. Some distinctive and memorable former m, preferably
derived from the interior spaces, is desirable to supply an identity to the
facility. A tower (but no steeple), a sculpture, or other external motif may
be considered. A scale and exterior detail that conforms to habitational
rather than industrial buildings is appropriate. Landscaping elements are to
support the sense of openness and invitation, and may contribute to usable
outdoor space. The sense of permanence is desired.
THE MAJOR ASSEMBLY SPACE.
Entrance and Exit. Access should be from the concourse at a single
portal or group of doors. To conform with NFPA 101, and also so that the room
may be rapidly cleared at tight Sunday morning schedules, other exits are
The Shape. The space is a single volume of basically simple
geometry. The provision for a separate chancel space, apse, or choir is
inappropriate. Proportions must be such as to unify rather than separate
people or groups of people, and to allow configurations of seating through
which people are much aware of each other, and are given opportunity for
interaction. Design features such as dominating axialities, implied focus,
hierarchical progressions of space or imperious bisymmetry should be avoided
because these features limit flexibility of arrangements and use. Ramped
floors are obviously an impediment to flexibility. The visibility that ramped
floors provide can be provided by elevated platform or dais; such a podium may
be built from movable elements and thus maintain radical flexibility in the
space. Ramped access to the platform must be possible.
Balconies. One criterion of the space is that participants
in worship should not be more than about 65 feet (19500 m2) from the
liturgical centers. When such distances are exceeded because of the
large numbers of the assembly, galleries or balconies for seating may
be required. The limit of capacity on a single level under this
criterion is about 700 to 800 seats. Galleries are usually uneconomical