Designing Worship Facilities | #AIABLTI515.22

4 HSW/LU Credit Audio Course
This course is designed to look at the many parameters and decisions that must be made and addressed, before and during the design of a worship facility.



Instructor:  Paul Spite

Many decisions need to be made when undertaking the design of a facility to be used for worship. Some are esoteric, dealing with considerations on how to design the structure to best approach God. But others are more mundane, concerned with the fact that before the building may be occupied, the designer must first please men. This course will deal with the second.

Satisfying the needs of people involved in the project will involve those both inside and outside of the client group. Unless societal guidelines, like codes, zoning restrictions and existing easements are honored, regulatory agencies can make sure the building process doesn’t begin. Lending agencies will impose restrictions that must be honored. Site conditions will result in sometimes inflexible conditions on how the land may be used. The needs of the building community that will be translating construction documents into a physical reality must be addressed, as well as the way that process will come to fruition. Finally, every member of the religious group called the client will be bringing their own ideas to the table regarding the desired end result. 

This course is designed to look at the many, sometimes seemingly endless parameters and decisions that must be made and addressed, before and during the design of a worship facility.

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills.

  • A thorough understanding of the types of parameters that must be satisfied in the design of worship facilities
  • An increased awareness of the various functions usually needing accommodated in worship facilities
  • Knowledge of basic options available to religious groups facing the need to change or expand their facilities to accommodate growth
  • How to guide religious groups in acknowledging the many costs besides the building, involved in completing projects, considering sources for capital and determining their financial feasibility of proceeding
  • Educating clients regarding various players who will be involved in making their dream a reality and how to go about selecting them
  • Different societal guidelines that act as parameters to be met while designing worship facilities
  • Master planning considerations that should be incorporated in sites, buildings, systems and furnishings for religious clients
  • Basic acoustic considerations to be addressed while designing the primary spaces of buildings used for assembly purposes
  • Practical considerations and rules of thumb that help with initial layouts and schematic design of worship facilities
  • Typical areas of concern found in building code restrictions, tending to govern the design of worship facilities.

This course covers:

  • Introduction
  • Options for Growth
  • Counting the Costs
  • Potential Sources of Capital
  • Players in the Process
  • Master Planning
  • Acoustics in Worship
  • Practical Concerns / Rules of Thumb
  • Materials and Choices
  • Rules and Regulations
  • Building Codes Pertinent to Worship Facilities
  • Conclusion


Credit(s) earned on completion of this course will be reported to AIA CES for AIA members.  Certificates of Completion for both AIA members and non-AIA members are available to print upon completion of the course.