Calvary Lutheran Church

Scope of Work

Full architectural services

Berggren Architects completed an addition and resdesign for the church.

Location

Lincoln, NE

History

The Calvary Lutheran Church was built in 1935.

Completion

This project was completed in 2010.

The Challenge

Beginning in 1990, we were asked to prepare a long-range plan and concept model for expansion of the church. The structure already occupied the maximum percent of lot coverage permitted by existing zoning. The zoning prohibited adding to the footprint of the facility until additional land had been acquired. It would be necessary to meet with the client, identify all of the foreseeable needs, prioritize those needs, then plan for phases to fulfill those plans as land becomes available.

Calvary Lutheran before – summer

Calvary Lutheran before

Notes:

In order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a special use permit would be necessary for a small addition containing an elevator. This would also trigger a 10-year moratorium for future special use permits.

To ensure land would eventually be available, a special committee was created for negotiating land acquisition, including negotiating “first right of refusal” when land might become available in the future.

In 1995, we constructed a study model of the church and an addition which addressed the clients’ needs and wishes. It was created in such a way as to show potential phases of construction to reach their end goal. It was a valuable tool for the necessary fundraising.

Calvary Lutheran before – elevator

Calvary Lutheran before

The Strategy

As the long-range plan evolved, a study model would be created illustrating how phases might be constructed when some of the necessary land would be acquired. The fundraising effort would raise funds to acquire additional ground as well as for future construction costs. To maintain momentum, small interior projects would be designed and completed to correct ADA deficiencies.

Notes:

The congregation would have to wait 12 years before enough ground was purchased to begin planning the first phase of construction.

During the period of land acquisition, when additional properties where purchased, they were used as:

  • the church’s office,
  • additional Sunday school classrooms,
  • youth gathering spaces, and
  • in some cases, properties were cleared to provide off street parking.
    • The design of the new parking lot anticipated the amount of required parking for the first addition.

The Results

In 2004, the first major addition got underway. Almost a decade after creating the study model, the first phase of the clients’ dreams was being realized. Some re-thinking of how new spaces would be utilized helped address current needs. The form and volume of the addition matched the original concept model. Fulfillment of the congregation’s dreams were met with a new, large narthex, serving as a gathering space, and a generous lower level used as Sunday school classrooms and, on weekdays, an adult bible study space. The addition created front door access for the elderly and physically challenged members and visitors.

This already long-term relationship with our client continues to inspire other improvements for the church.

The New Challenge

Elevate the worship experience by redesigning the sanctuary to unify the congregation. Improve the path of travel for communion. Maintain the historic character and furnishings of the sanctuary. Encourage members of the congregation to utilize the fellowship space of the newly completed addition for comradery before and after services. The existing sightlines within the sanctuary made it difficult for many of the members to see the chancel, the altar, or see and hear the praise band and singers.

Notes:

Communion served at the altar is an important tradition. Existing obstacles in the path of travel from the two different sanctuaries diminishes the celebration of communion.

A beautiful reredos and altar had been created for the original sanctuary. It was relocated to a less conspicuous space.

In the 1950s, additional space was needed in the sanctuary. That additional space was positioned at ninety degrees to the original sanctuary. Thus an “L”-shaped sanctuary existed when Berggren Architects began working for the congregation. Families became known as being in the “west wing” or the “south wing” congregation.

The New Strategy

Improving the sightlines by rearranging the chancel furniture would be the primary solution. Physically elevating the altar would enhance its contribution to the worship space. Making alterations to the most sacred space in the church would require support from the entire congregation. For that support, some alternative solutions would be presented for their approval.

The New Results

Rearranging the location of the altar, making it the visual center of attention, made the most positive impact. The pulpit and lectern are now portable elements, thus relocating them to accommodate the minister/presenter’s wishes is accomplished easily. The niche formerly occupied by the altar was repurposed for musical presentations. The reredos remains a beautiful backdrop for the musicians and singers.

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Our Process

We listen to you

We are preservation architects, let’s get together and talk about your project. Once we know your ideas, we can start your project in the right directions.

We involve you in the planning

Planning projects is what we do. We’ll work with you to develop the best way to implement your ideas. Our written documents are the road map which is essential to ensuring your expectations.

We make it happen

When you’re ready to implement your ideas, we’ll gather together the craftsmen and women necessary and bring your ideas to life. Architecture is in the details. We will follow your project through completion ensuring all the details meet your expectations.

What We Offer

Restoration

We offer restoration and preservation of your historic structures. Using extraordinary materials and craftsmanship, our historic structures are a lasting tribute to the people for whom they were built.

Consulting

We offer consulting services to both general clients and professional clients in sharing our knowledge and expertise in the area of historic preservation. Our master planning and preservation planning prepares our clients to be better able to plan for the life of their historic structures and districts.

New Construction

We know the meaning of sustainability because of our in-depth work with structures which have stood the test of time. We offer sustainable and green new construction which is historically sympathetic, including in the form of additions.

Our Team

Principal, Preservation Architect

Jerry L. Berggren, AIA

Production Manager

Garry Martin

Contract Consultant

Farheen Sirajuddin

Architectural Historian

Janet Jeffries

Architectural Student Intern

Alexi Caines

Media Production Manager

Kameron Dadgostar

Staff Architect

Leroy Svatora, AIA

Media Production Intern

Grace Shepherd

Architectual Student Intern

Sharon Guchu

Operations Manager

Jess Larsen

Architectural Production Staff

Brennan Deboer

Principal, Preservation Architect

Jerry L. Berggren, AIA

In 1977, Jerry Berggren founded what would become Berggren Architects, P.C. The firm began as a sole proprietorship in Lincoln, Nebraska and has since then been dedicated to the preservation of Nebraska’s finest architecture. The 1983 Jobs Bill was the milestone which introduced the firm to its most significant building type, the historic county courthouse. A project to improve the thermal efficiency of the windows at the Johnson County Courthouse in Tecumseh also initiated Berggren’s concern for energy conservation and an ongoing commitment to sustainable design.

Today, Jerry Berggren has expanded his firm. He continues to employ professionals and interns focused on historic preservation and extending the life of our built environment. One growing sector of Berggren Architects, P.C. is our consulting service. As preservation consultants, we share our expertise in historic buildings with other architectural firms. After more than 30 years of assessing the historic structures in the care of local and regional museums, Jerry has developed yet another passion: the design and assessment of museums’ collections storage. At many museums, collections storage is too often an afterthought. When the budget has been spent, a museum’s most treasured possessions are commonly left in the least desirable facility. Jerry is sharing his experience with collections storage design and maintenance, as architect or consultant, with museums throughout the Midwest. The future will undoubtedly hold more unexpected opportunities and challenges. He looks forward to each of those, and you are invited to contact him directly regarding the architectural challenges you face.

Production Manager

Garry Martin

Garry has been working in the architectural field continuously since obtaining a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1991. He had previously worked with Jerry Berggren as an intern in 1989 and the experience piqued his interest in the field of preservation. Garry leads the production team at Berggren Architects, P.C.

Contract Consultant

Farheen Sirajuddin

Farheen, a citizen of India, began her career with formal education in that country achieving the status of architect. When her husband was transferred to the U.S., she seized the opportunity to study at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln graduating in 2019 with her Master of Architecture. She immediately became one of our full time employees continuing to work until her student visa expired in July of 2020. Having to return to India, we thought we had lost a valued employee. Thanks to COVID, we have had to learn to work remotely. Farheen, now living in Canada, has once again joined us. This time as a contract consultant and we are very grateful to have her back.

Architectural Historian

Janet Jeffries

Janet has a career history as an educator, writer, and researcher in the field of historical and architectural preservation. She currently works as the University Historian for Doane University in Crete, NE and is the Curator for the Crete Heritage Society. Janet is currently employed as the firm’s Architectural/Preservation Historian.

Architectural Student Intern

Alexi Caines

Alexi joined Berggren Architects in 2021. In her first year as a Larsen Legacy intern, her responsibilities began with coordinating office operations and research. Her current responsibilities include marketing and preparation of construction documents and design.

Media Production Manager

Kameron Dadgostar

Kameron joined Berggren Architects in September of 2022 as a Media Production Intern. Responsibilities include creating digital videos for the company, filming footage on site of current projects, website development as well as creating and updating existing content and project information.

Staff Architect

Leroy Svatora, AIA

Leroy has been continuously involved in the practice of Architecture since receiving his Master’s Degree in Architecture from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1977. He began working part-time in an architectural office prior to graduation and worked briefly with Jerry in the 1980’s. After leaving Jerry’s office, he became licensed in the State of Nebraska, and worked for other firms in Lincoln on a variety of project types and scales. Since then, he has returned to assist Berggren Architects once more.

Media Production Intern

Grace Shepherd

Grace joined the Berggren Architects team in June of 2023 as a Media Production Intern part of the McCown Media Internship Program. Grace is a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Emerging Media Arts. She is carrying on the McCown Media Internship Program by filming, editing, and publishing digital content for Berggren Architects and aiding in website development.

Architectual Student Intern

Sharon Guchu

in 2023, Sharon joined Berggren Architects. Her responsibilities as a Larsen Legacy Intern include managing QuickBooks, setting up and maintaining office supplies, and acts as the front-facing representative of our company to the public.

Operations Manager

Jess Larsen

Jess rejoined Berggren Architects as Operations Manager in 2023. Jess originally began her tenure at Berggren in 2016 as an intern while working on her undergraduate degree in Architecture from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2019, after Graduating with Distinction, from the College of Architecture with a Bachelor of Science in Design, and a Minor in Art History and Criticism, she moved to New York City to work as an operations associate for an art consulting firm. Jess has worked with major real estate developers, interior designers, and international artists for her award-winning projects. She is back with Berggren part-time to manage company operations, and to ensure Berggren Architects runs smoothly.

Architectural Production Staff

Brennan Deboer

Brennan’s background in building is rooted in craftsmanship. After graduating from the University of Montana in 2014, Brennan’s professional experience has been split between the arts and construction, working primarily as an audio engineer and a finish carpenter. In 2020, Brennan combined his passions for music and fine woodworking and began working for Bedient Pipe Organ Co. building and refurbishing pipe organs. Working with antique instruments led him to a wider interest in historic building practices and preservation. A desire to formally pursue historic preservation work has now brought him to the Architectural Production Staff at Berggren Architects.

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