The Globe and Mail on SvN’s Rethinking of Underutilized Churches

SvN Principal Drew Sinclair was featured in the Globe and Mail article,Neighbourhood churches find a new mission, about our work in providing strategic advice to places of worship. Churches today face a similar problem of dwindling congregations and not being able to keep their doors open.

Church properties are an asset due to their prime locations and special tax-exempt status, and have myriad options to better serve their community and become financially stable. Even among churches that are thriving, rethinking and renovation allows churches to do more with what they already have.

SvN has been providing planning and architectural services to churches of all denominations to find new opportunities for places of worship, searching for unanticipated partners to help churches forge creative partnerships.

The Church of the Ascension in Hamilton found itself with only about 50 congregants for Sunday service in a space meant to accommodate 500. SvN renovated the main sanctuary into a convertible space for hosting dinner events and performances to gain revenue. “We assessed how each of those various spaces functioned, and then we designed what amounted to, I’ll call them, Swiss army knife insertions into their existing church sanctuary,” Drew Sinclair says. “It’s in a heritage designated building, so we had to be sensitive to the existing character.”

The Globe and Mail article can be read here.

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Housing is a core focus of our business. We design innovative and adaptable buildings and master plans that respond to the immediate and future housing needs of diverse communities and all levels of income. We have a history of initiating and realizing housing projects that fill critical gaps in the market, and that are sensitive and adaptable to evolving cultures and contexts.
We undertake site analysis studies, from site scale up to secondary plan scales.  We work with developers and public agencies such as Build Toronto and Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation to complete due diligence and Highest and Best Use Studies for their lands. 
We help institutions fulfill their cultural mandate, and remain closely connected within their community, during periods of economic and social change. We take a comprehensive approach to the design, restoration and funding of public buildings and spaces, facilitating cultural partnerships and making efficient and productive use of space and resources.
Our team conducts engagement processes with clients, end-users and members of the community to understand existing conditions, identify options, negotiate solutions and secure the support of public and funding agencies. We use innovative graphic and modelling tools to illustrate architectural, urban design and planning visions to clients, stakeholders, regulators, potential investors and the public.