Messiah Lutheran Church
St. Louis, MO
Team Four Architects | 14 North Newstead Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, 63108 | phone 314.533.2200 fax 314.533.2203
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
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.
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
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
Throughout our design work for Messiah, we coordinated our work closely with the city's
Heritage and Urban Design Commission.