Assembly of God Church, Greencastle, Indiana
In 1986, Engineered Alternatives, the Indianapolis dealer for
Natural Spaces Domes, designed and engineered a 20.000 sq. ft.
double-dome structure utilizing two Natural Spaces' Model 4300
Mid Profile 74' diameter domes.
The church's needs were for a 500+ seat sanctuary, a large
narthex for gathering before and after services, a fellowship hall
with kitchen, Sunday school classrooms, church offices, and
accompanying miscellaneous storage and utllity space. The
following is a description of how this program was met.
The entry narthex is 30' x 40' with a large open cloak room and a
stairway to the lower floor. Large window areas on each side of the
double set of double doors provide plenty of natural llght for large
plants while creating a very pleasant welcoming area. 'I'hls area is
also used for a "staging" area for weddings, receptions and
The main floor of the sanctuary seats 338 people in fixed padded
church pews. The remaining 178 people are seated in a balcony
reached by the starways on both sides of the main floor of the
sanctuary. The 25' x 50' raised pulpit area encompasses the choir
seating area, the musical ensemble area, a raised baptismal
immersion pool hldden behind a decorative wall with a sliding
panel, and the pulpit area whlch utilizes a clear plexiglass lecturn.
An extension behmd the baptismal area has men's and women's
dressing rooms with a starway leading to the lower level.
Heating and air conditioning ducts are contained in a boxed-in
soffit whlch encircles the sanctuary dome. The top of the dome has
a raised cupola with five operable vent windows for natural
To diminish the sound reverberation in the dome, the floors are
carpeted, the pews padded, and the ceiling spray textured. The
carpeting was done in a two-tone color scheme; grey under the
seating area and on the raised pulpit, burgundy in the aisles arid
on all the stairs. The pew seats are covered in mauve fabric. The
ceiling of the dome is sprayed with a white sound deadening
material which also ads in reflecting light in the dome. This white
ceiling and the carpet and fabric colors give the church a fresh
contemporary 90's look.
On the other side of the narthex from the sanctuary is the entry
to the fellowshtp hall dome. Just inside this entry are the main
floor bathrooms. The remaining 4,000 sq. ft. of space on the main
floor of this dome is devoted to an open, spacious, multi-purpose
room with a large kitchen. At the top of the dome is
another raised cupola with five windows for natural ventilation.
The entire lower level on the back side is at grade due to the slope
of the Church site.
The level below the sanctuary has separate offices for the pastor,
the assodate pastor, the Sunday school superintendent, the
church secretary, office equipment, board room, and other areas
for classrooms, supplies and storage.
The lower level between the two domes has men's and women's
bathrooms. mechanical and janitorial rooms, and the stairway up
to the narthex.
The level below the fellowship hall has 4,300 sq. ft. of classroom
One of the important design considerations was that the entire
facility be handicap accessible, including the lower level. As can be
seen in the plan, the main floor and lower floor can be entered
drectly from their own drive and parking areas.
The dome has 2x8 struts and utilizes Natural Spaces' ventilated
dome shell system. While the two domes are considerably larger
than the congregation's previous church, the energy costs for
heating and cooling are considerably less than what they were
paying. Total heating and cooling costs run approx. $225 per
month for the entire 20,000 sq. ft. complex.
Utilizlng Natural Spaces' Patented Super-Lok Hub & Strut
Connection System, the congregation was able to put up the domes
themselves, supervised by the local Natural Spaces' dealer. On
both 74' diameter domes, none of the parts were longer than 8'
nor heavier than 30 Ibs. This was achieved because Natural Spaces
changes the dome frequency (geometry) to enable nonskilled
owner-builders to erect the dome without having to use
cranes or other support elements. Also, the higher frequency
gives Natural Spaces' larger domes a more spherical appearance.
The 74' diameter dome has a 6 frequency icosahedron based
alternate breakdown geometry. There are 550 struts, 350
triangular panels and 196 hub units.
The 20,000 sq. ft. Assembly of God Church was built for an
approximate cost of $500,000, excluding the finishing of the
Fellowship Hall. This cost efficiency was achieved because the
church took advantage of the many resources available within
their own congregation. The church utilized a construction
manager to supervise their volunteer labor force which not only
built the domes, but also installed the mechanical, electrical and