Bellevue First Congregational Church


This 49,000sf adaptive reuse project transformed a bland 1970s office building into a light filled inspiring place of worship.  The directive criteria to the design team was to create an environmentally friendly “space of awe”. In the sanctuary, there was a desire to improve on previously poor task light levels, that strained elderly parishioners while also adding flexible accent lighting for pastors and choir. Throughout the design process, detailed analysis was performed to ensure appropriate levels were reached. Using a theatrical lighting approach, dramatic natural light is balanced with layers of illuminated surfaces and identity elements, elevating the architectural forms and volumes. Dramatic uplighting of pipe organs, accents and sparkle from pendants add points of visual interest.  The space inspired the custom design of dropped architectural rings with integral light fixtures and glass pendants suspended through the center. Along with housing downlights and adjustable accents, the ring creates support points for AV equipment.  The energy solutions provided a lighting power consumption of .25 watts/sq ft, bettering the allowance of .80 watts/sq ft. 


Recipient of the Puget Sound IES 2017 Guth Award for Interior Lighting Design.

Bellevue, WA


Beverley Shimmin