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  Christian Renewal Center, Page 54Christian Renewal Center
Turner & Bair Architects, LLP
333 Cypress Run, #350, Houston, TX 77094

Dickinson, Texas
Total Square Feet: 12,000
Construction Period: Dec 2001 to June 2002

Construction Team
General Contractor: Fretz Construction - 6301 Long Drive, Houston, TX 77087
Structural Engineer: PSS Partnership, Inc. - 6117 Richmond Avenue, #250, Houston, TX 77057
Electrical Engineer: Lakey Electric - P.O. Box 40279, Houston, TX 77240
Mechanical Engineer: GH Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc. - 11706 S. Garden Street, Houston, TX 77071
Cost Estimator: Fretz Construction - 6301 Long Drive, Houston, TX 77087

Oblate Hall and Pavilion, a 12,000-square-foot facility designed to accommodate the recreational and conferencing needs of adult and youth groups on spiritual retreats, was recently added to the campus of the Christian Renewal Center. Located in Dickinson, Texas midway between Galveston and Houston, The Christian Renewal Center is a non-profit organization owned and supported by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate who offer the retreat to groups of all faiths for a variety of functions. The new facility represents the completion of phase one construction of a master plan developed for the expansion and upgrading of existing facilities on the 34-year-old campus that includes an Oblate residence, cafeteria, two additional free-standing conference halls, guest cabins, walking trails, outdoor swimming pool and recreational fields. Turner & Bair Architects, LLP of Houston was the architect for the project, providing full planning and architectural services.

A key design component of the new building included the desire to integrate as much as possible of the natural beauty of the heavily wooded landscape into indoor spaces since a primary focus of many attending functions at the center is to find a serene place to reflect on the quality of life and spiritual issues. The use of multitudes of windows and neutral, earthtone colors throughout the interior of the building helped achieve this feeling of being at one with nature. Birds, squirrels and other creatures often make unscheduled guest appearances at the floor-to-ceiling expanse of windows that frame the facility’s main meeting room. Meeting attendees enjoy these close encounters as well as the comforts of the air-conditioned indoors. Additionally, oversized covered walkways and porches connect the main facility with an outdoor pool and a large, covered pavilion providing other ways to enjoy nature despite inclement weather.

Space flexibility was another design requirement of both the main building and the adjacent covered pavilion, which is used for activities ranging from volleyball and basketball to musical performances and religious services. Housed in the main facility is a large conference/activity room that can accommodate up to 80 people in a meeting arrangement designed with niches for small-group discussions, two separate break-out rooms sized to service groups of 15 or less, office/storage spaces, and restrooms and kitchen that are accessible to all indoor spaces as well as the pool and pavilion areas.

Overall, the project’s design needed to be residential in scale and feel to not only complement the other facilities on campus but to fit with the overall landscape of the mostly residential area in which the retreat is located. Thus, the building siding was painted in a neutral color scheme that was selected for aesthetics and durability.

DIV 07: Manufactured Wood Siding: Hardiplank®; Metal Roof: MBCI.
DIV 08: Hollow Metal Doors: CECO; Wood Doors: Haley; Windows: Vistawall.

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