New Hope Missionary Baptist Church

Design intentions for New Hope Missionary Baptist Church are rooted in African American culture and history. The design is derived from vernacular “Spirit Houses” in South Carolina and Georgia, where slaves gathered for liturgical celebration and expression. These humble churches were simple, white-washed, wood-framed structures with unadorned interiors. New Hope Missionary Baptist Church seeks to recognize African American heritage by building upon the typology of the “Spirit House”. Natural light, symbolic of God’s enlightenment, permeates the worship space and creates an ever changing tapestry for worship and cultural celebration. Major program components of the 9,400-square-foot church include a 300-seat sanctuary, a gathering space/multi-purpose hall, a library, classrooms, and offices. The brick-clad, wood-framed structure was value-engineered to a cost of $138 per square foot to meet the client’s limited budget. Simple and straightforward construction technology was utilized for economy and to reflect the origins of African American religious architecture in this country.

Year: 2000
Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Area: 9,360 square feet

Key Features

300-seat sanctuary
gathering space/multi-purpose hall
two classrooms
extension of the campus-like character of the facilities and grounds


American Institute of Architects, Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture, Religious Art and Architecture Design Award, This is the highest national design award given specifically for the design of a religious facility, 2001
American Institute of Architects, Northeast Illinois, Excellence in Architecture Award, 2001
Association of Licensed Architects, Award of Merit, 2001
Society of American Registered Architects, National Honor Award, 2000
Brick Industry Association, Silver Metal Award, 2006
Chicago Building Congress, Merit Award, 2002
Illinois Indiana Masonry Institute, Best Religious Award, 2001