Calvary Lutheran Church
Scope of Work
Full architectural services
Berggren Architects completed an addition and resdesign for the church.
The Calvary Lutheran Church was built in 1935.
This project was completed in 2010.
Calvary Lutheran before – summer
Calvary Lutheran before
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The observatory restoration project was completed in 1995. It was immediately opened to the public with a successful ribbon cutting ceremony. The time-keeping ball, now inside on its mount, was one of less than eight time balls dropped at midnight of New Year's Eve, 1999. The telescope remains operational to this day and is regularly used for sky-viewing, including to view the lunar eclipse of May 2022.
Janet Jeffries, our architectural historian and faculty member of Doane University, is responsible for managing public events and tour at the observatory.
A Pennock 8-inch equatorial refractor telescope sits within the scope room.The wood lattice dome structure and sheet metal cover were faithfully restored.
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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
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What We Offer
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1986, Jerry’s “Courthouse Trail” proposal to the state was approved. The Courthouse Trail experience solidified two career-long relationships with the Nebraska Energy Office and the Nebraska Association of County Officials. He continued to serve Nebraska’s county clients and in 2002 he became the recipient of the Honors Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This achievement was Berggren’s first nationally recognized award.
Today, Jerry Berggren has expanded his firm and employs professionals with abilities in historic preservation, architecture, interior design, sustainability, master planning and more. 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.
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.
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 employee and we are very grateful to have her back.
Janet has a career history as an educator, writer, and researcher in the field of historical and architectural preservation. She currently works as the College Historian for Doane College in Crete, NE and is the Curator for the Crete Heritage Society. Janet is currently employed as the firm’s Architectural/Preservation Historian.
Brandy Nguyen joined Berggren Architects. in April of 2020. As an architectural student, Brandy was recruited in 2020 to become the next Larsen Legacy intern. During this year of his internship, he is taking charge of the firm’s outward appearance. Website development and polishing the proposal we submit are among his responsibilities. He is also becoming a significant help with the production of construction documents.
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.
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.
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.
Berggren Architects welcomed Maegan in 2022. Her duties as a Larsen Legacy assistant started out with organizing the offices’ activities and conducting research. Her current duties include overseeing QuickBooks, setting up and maintaining workplace supplies, and serves as our office’s front-facing representative.