St. Timothy Lutheran Church

Built on a bluff with a dominating view from a regional vehicular path, this 27,800 square foot facility was designed and constructed for a growing congregation relocating from its home of nearly 60 years. Included in the program is a 400-seat sanctuary, 40-seat chapel, narthex with overflow seating of 60, a multi-purpose fellowship hall, and the required nurseries, youth and adult education, administration, and support spaces.

The building is positioned at the southern edge of the site and aggressively engages the topography to maximize its presence from the road below. Upon entering the site at the top of the access drive, parishioners are welcomed by a terraced, curvilinear parking area. The organic lines of the site structure work in contrast to the formal clusters of the building composition and travel through the site affords infinite perspectives of the building massing. More than 60,000 cubic yards of earth were moved to accommodate the single-storm footprint and parking requirements while foundations nearing the top of the slope are ten feet wide and nearly twelve feet deep.

The church family is a diverse mix of ages, personalities, and worship preferences, which is reflected in the various liturgical, charismatic, and meditative services offered throughout the week. Consequently, the architectural language of the facility is developed with strong iconographic forms and materials while attempting to maintain an abstract nature of composition and detailing. Responsive to the church’s evangelical mission, the main entrance steps down in scale as the invitation, relating to the smaller human form, while a powerful axis leads past the baptismal font to the altar and the sacrament of Holy Communion, growing to the crescendo of space in the voluminous light well.

In contrast to the gabled linear form of the nave, the communication rail, pulpit and lectern platform, and altar predella manifest in raised circular forms driving toward the center of the room, facilitating personally engaging preaching, teaching, and worship leading. The church’s belief in one triune God is symbolically represented in the worship space, as God the Father embracing His church through the vast angular wall and ceiling planes; God the Son, or Rock, through the freestanding stone wall and cross; and God the Holy Spirit, His real presence in the world today, through the infusion of natural light. The stained glass rose window, as well as eight rectangular memorial windows, were brought from the existing building and utilized in the detailing of the altar wall and narthex space. Steel trusses are designed and detailed reminiscent of the heavy timber members of the original sanctuary, and the use of stone at the interior and exterior makes gesture to the stone cladding of the old facility. With room to immediately double in attendance, and ultimately quadruple through the introduction of additional Sunday services, the congregation of St. Timothy and their mission is reflected in the design, construction, and utilization of their new church home. It responds to who they are, where they came from, and what they aspire to become–making a positive impact on the spiritual and built environment of the community they service.


St. Timothy Lutheran Church


Charleston, WV


27,800 gsf


New Construction