The Heathen’s Guide to Going to Church: Adaptive Reuse of a Bygone Typology

THE STORY

The heart of communities in the West has always been the church, where congregants have not only worshiped and found greater meaning in their lives, but built their social lives around this hub. However, in recent decades, changing demographics and secularization have depreciated the church’s position as the social locus of society. This phenomenon is particularly conspicuous in Europe where its large, historic cathedrals have become progressively more vacant.

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Virginia is for Lovers, Yurts

Travel has changed over the last two years. The uptick in flexible schedules and remote work means people are leaving home for longer periods of time and traveling to new destinations. This summer, AAA predicted that car travel is expected to set a new record despite the historically high gas prices.

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LEGO Fanatics–er, Architects–Rejoice!

One would be hard-pressed to find an architect whose story doesn’t begin with the fascination of LEGO. The tiny plastic bricks, with its “stud and tube” connection added just enough stability for structure but plenty of flexibility for the imagination. A childhood that was literally laying the foundation for a future career in architecture.

Chesterfield County, Virginia, is now the future home of the next carbon-neutral LEGO factory. The toy company is investing more than $1 billion to build the facility of 1.7 million square feet and employ more than 1,760 people.

Located on a 340-acre tract that includes Meadowville Tech Park, LEGO pledged to create a highly energy efficient site. One hundred percent of its energy needs will be matched by onsite renewable sources through an onsite solar park.

“We were impressed with all that Virginia has to offer, from access to a skilled workforce, support for high-quality manufacturers, and great transport links,” Niels Christiansen, CEO of the family-owned company headquartered in Billund, Denmark, said in a statement. “We appreciate support for our ambition to build a carbon-neutral run facility and construct a solar park and are looking forward to building a great team.”

vintage LEGO system ad
Courtesy of The LEGO Group: Since LEGO’s inception in the 1930s, the company’s founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, was dedicated to the design, quality and precision of the toys that architects (and maybe a few children) have come to appreciate.

Securing the project was a joint effort between the Virginia Economic Development Partnership who worked with Chesterfield County, the Greater Richmond Partnership, and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission.

“The LEGO Group’s decision to establish its U.S. manufacturing plant in Virginia shines a global spotlight on the advantages that make the Commonwealth the best business location in the nation, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with this iconic company,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin in a statement.

Since LEGO’s inception in the 1930s, the company’s founder, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, was dedicated to the design, quality and precision of the toys–all things architects’ value in their own work. Each LEGO brick is molded to the accuracy of a hair’s width (5my/0.005mm) to ensure the perfect ‘clutch power’ that holds LEGO creations together.

“The LEGO Group’s combination of creativity and sustainable business practices is a perfect fit for our region and we’re happy to help them build for tomorrow,” said Jennifer Wakefield, President + CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership.

Construction is slated to begin this fall and be completed in 2025, including the onsite solar park.

Team Three is an editorial and creative consultancy based in Washington, DC.