How to Design Spaces that Serve as a Respite for the Community Blog Feature
Mary Bellus

By: Mary Bellus on May 29, 2020

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How to Design Spaces that Serve as a Respite for the Community

Church Design | Community Impact | Great Outdoors

At Aspen, we often talk about creating places that can be an intentional gift for the community—a beautiful space with no cost of admission where people can find rest. Especially in times of heightened anxiety, spaces that connect people with our Creator and the natural world serve as a respite from stress and frustration, especially in this season of COVID.

In the following post, Aspen architects Craig Dobyns, César Espinoza, and Rosie Mitchell share design ideas for ways you can create spaces of rest and respite in your church setting.


Your church is preparing to return to your building.
We want you to be ready.


Create Spaces that Connect People to God's Creation

Creating outdoor oases with winding paths, flowing water, and natural elements helps to calm our stress and connect us to our Creator. Depending on how elaborately you develop your outdoor spaces, adding ways for people to experience nature doesn't have to be expensive.




We've learned a lot in the past few decades about how to design healthier buildings. For example, adding operable glass walls and doors provides a natural source of ventilation while offering access to nature. It also creates a way to bring in natural light and visibility to the outdoors.



Transform Spaces into Pop-Up Art Galleries

Art provokes conversation, emotion, and deep thought about the subject it explores. Churches could provide opportunities for the community to experience art that expresses the church and culture today, while also providing a quiet place for reflection.


Pop-up-Art-1Pop-up-Art-3These renderings show a construction trailer adapted to serve as a mobile, pop-up art gallery and prayer space. It could be one unit or paired as two (as shown in these images). Because the unit is on a trailer, it can be moved to different locations in the community.


We hope these design ideas will be of inspiration to you as you consider ways to create spaces of rest and respite for your church and community. Visit for more articles and resources to help your church team think through how your spaces might be temporarily adapted as COVID-19 restrictions ease, and contact us if you need more help transitioning your church spaces.


About Mary Bellus

Mary is former Content and Visual Marketing Manager for Aspen Group.