The existing building, though unassuming, was in good shape, but its surroundings were less than sacred: forgotten strip malls, title loan stores, and a sea of asphalt parking lots. However, look closer and you would find a pocket of natural beauty concealed behind the building. A shear rock face seemed to emerge from the ground at nearly 90 degrees, literally a section cut of Red Mountain, that sheltered this area from the noise of cars and the views of suburbia.

Creature decided that this area, not the street facing front of the building, should be the entrance. This would intentionally lengthen the trip from car to sanctuary, giving the visitor time to deescalate and leave the noise and commotion behind. To facilitate this effect, Creature designed a series of canopies to protect the visitor from rain and sun along this path. Steel members organically branch to support benches and sawtooth roofs. On approach, the canopies frame views of sky and rock. The result is a small oasis of nature.

Inside the building, visitors are greeted with a soft color palette. The children’s wing features a lively, technicolor corridor covered with a twisting, dancing wood ceiling. The design is intended is to inspire a child’s imagination and form a memory from what would otherwise be a purely utilitarian space. The sanctuary is minimal in contrast, the only focal point being the oak-clad stage and an implied cross made of steel and daylight.