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Messiah Lutheran Church
Renovation
St. Louis, MO

Team Four Architects | 14 North Newstead Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, 63108 | phone 314.533.2200 fax 314.533.2203
Historic Building
Messiah Lutheran Church, with a congregation of 500, is an active urban church in south St. Louis. Constructed in 1929, the Church is historically important and in excellent condition. However, there are monumental stairs rising 10 feet above street level to the sanctuary, the Fellowship Hall on the lower level was without direct access from the street, meeting rooms were accessible only by long flights of stairs, and none of the restroom facilities were wheelchair accessible.

Process
TeamFour began the process of solving these access problems by working with representatives of the church to formulate a plan. We conducted a feasibility study to identify solutions and associated costs. We then assisted the church in applying for a grant to help fund these projects.

Improvements
The church received the funding for the elevator project, which was recently completed. The resulting improvements included removal of some existing exterior stairs and construction of gently sloping sidewalks, which allow access from the public sidewalk to a new stoop at the front entrance to the Parish Hall. At the end of the lobby area, a wall was removed and a new elevator installed. By carefully placing the new elevator within the existing building shell, we were able to preserve the historic exterior appearance, and also conserve construction dollars.

Elevators
Two types of elevators were evaluated. The conventional hydraulic elevator was compared to a limited use, limited access (LULA) lift. LULA's were approved for use under the BOCA code by the City of St. Louis in 1996. The LULA resembles a conventional elevator but is significantly slower. It is also less expensive and does not require either a pit for the hydraulic piston or cab overrun at the top of the shaft. The LULA alternative was selected and put into service.

Coordination
Throughout our design work for Messiah, we coordinated our work closely with the city's Heritage and Urban Design Commission.