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New Hope Missionary Baptist Church / DeKalb, Illinois

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 sf 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 sf 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.

American Institute of Architects and the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture, National Religious Architecture Award 2001
American Institute of Architects, Northeast Illinois, Excellence in Architecture Award 2001
Association of Licensed Architects, Award of Merit 2001
Brick Industry Association, Silver Medal Award 2006
Chicago Building Congress, Merit Award 2002
Illinois Indiana Masonry Institute, Best Religious Award 2001
Society of American Registered Architects, National Honor Award 2000


“The 2006 Brick in Architecture Awards.” Brick in Architecture, Volume 63: Issue 3, p. 8.
Crosbie, Michael. Architecture for the Gods Book II. Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia: Images Publishing Group, 2002, pp. 106-111.
Crosbie, Michael. “The Millennium Religious Art & Architecture Awards.” Faith and Form, Volume XXXIV Number 1, 2001, p. 13.
“Celebrate Architecture Winners.” Architalk, December 2001, p. 1.

Project Location

Location Map

    Key Information

  • 300-seat sanctuary
  • Gathering space/multi-purpose hall
  • Library
  • Two classrooms
  • Kitchen
  • Offices
  • Extension of the campus-like character of the facilities and grounds