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Michael Graves Architecture & Design has acquired Waldon Studio Architects.

Bay Area Community Church & Chapel Addition

Waldon Studio Architects [WSA] collaborated with Bay Area Community Church to design a multi-phase master plan for this new church campus. Based around the theme of Apostle John’s vision of the sea of glass and throne room of heaven, along with Habbakuk’s vision of the glory of the knowledge of God leading to a water, the building concept was generated around a wave and water theme, also symbolically paralleling the Chesapeake Bay region, where the church calls home.

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  • Location

    Annapolis, MD

  • Client

    Bay Area Community Church

  • Project Type

    New Construction, Addition

  • Notable Award(s)

    Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Award of Merit (Chapel Addition), AIA Maryland People's Choice Award for Institutional Architecture (Chapel Addition), AIA Chesapeake Bay Citation Award (Chapel Addition), National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB) Merit Industry Award for Innovation; Award for Project Size Category; Merit Award for Best Renovation or Addition (Chapel Addition), WFX Solomon Award for Best Church Design - Expansion (Chapel Addition)

  • Year Completed

    Phase 1: 2006, Phase 2: 2015, Phase 3: 2019

  • Animation

    Bay Area Community Church Animation

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Bay Area Community Church & Chapel Addition

Bay Area Community Church

Waldon Studio Architects began collaborating with Bay Area Community Church in 2003 when the church purchased a piece of land in Annapolis, MD. Bay Area Community Church strives to reach their congregation in innovative ways and has grown rapidly over the years. The building design blends traditional church elements with contemporary design to create spaces that are cross-generational and reflect the creative culture of the church.

Nautical Culture

Working with the church leaders, WSA developed a nautical theme for the building that drew from the proximity of the church to the Chesapeake Bay and from scripture. Habakkuk 2:14 describes the “knowledge of the glory of the Lord” filling the earth as the “waters cover the sea” and in Revelations 4:6 and 15:2, the Apostle John illustrates the throne room of heaven and illustrates the people of God depicted on a “sea of glass.”

Multi-Phase Construction

WSA created a master plan for the church that helped the church plan out the future use of the property and projected growth of the congregation.
Phase 1
The first building phase was completed in 2006 and included a multipurpose gymnasium/worship Auditorium, a café and coffee bar named the “Bay Café,” administrative spaces, children’s and adult classrooms, and a dedicated youth worship space called “The Warehouse.”
Phase 2
The second building phase was completed in 2015 and included a 350 seat chapel and expanded children’s wing with new classrooms, and a playroom for families.


The multipurpose gymnasium/auditorium and the Chapel serve as two separate venues for worship during Sunday gatherings. Both spaces have a live worship band that play different styles of music fitting that room’s environment. A full band plays a faster-paced contemporary style in the “black box”-style Auditorium, and a smaller band plays a more intimate acoustic style in the natural light-filled Chapel. The sermon is preached live from the auditorium and streamed into the Chapel via an ultra-bright LED screen.

The Chapel

The elliptical form and metal cladding of the Chapel is reminiscent of a ship inserted into the Concourse and being sent out to sea as an analogy of the church’s involvement in the local community and foreign missions. The Chapel was designed as a multi-generational space that maintains a traditionally “worshipful” space interpreted in a fresh and contemporary way. The Chapel has minimal articulation on the walls, preparing a canvas for the church to utilize for visual installations. The intentional placement and treatment of the glass in the Chapel achieves uniform light distribution throughout the space, simultaneously focusing one’s view toward the trees and sky surrounding the site and avoiding ground level distractions, such as cars, people, and houses across the street. The wood treatment in the ceiling serves to provide a sense of warmth and to support the acoustic performance of the space.


The children’s wing was designed to be an exciting and engaging environment for children and families. Bright colors and large wall murals depicting underwater scenes and characters line the corridors and classrooms. A playroom for families is located off of the Concourse and has several climb-on characters, a slide, and a soft floor for play.

The Concourse

In keeping with the water theme, a large curving balcony rolls through the length of linear concourse like waves in the ocean and the elevator tower was formed in the shape of a boat’s sail. The lobby consists of large expanses of blue glass through which the people of the church can be seen. Use of natural and industrial materials such as wood slats, exposed steel, cable railings, and a polished concrete floor help convey the nautical theme, while maintaining and authentic and relatable environment for guests.

  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Award of Merit (Phase 1)
  • AIA Maryland People’s Choice Award for Institutional Architecture (Phase 2)
  • AIA Chesapeake Bay Citation Award (Phase 2)
  • NACDB Honor Award for the Industry Award for Innovation (Phase 2)
  • NACDB Honor Award for Projects Between $1-$5M (Phase 2)
  • NACDB Merit Award for Best Renovation or Addition (Phase 2)
  • ATAS Products Commercial Walls Project of the Year (Phase 2)
  • WFX Solomon Award for Best Church Design – Expansion (Phase 2)
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