Photo: Steve Hall


Willow Creek

Building expansion achieves a 350,000 SF worship campus with a new 7,400-seat worship auditorium and a new children’s area.  In accommodating high seating capacity and a stage larger than Radio City Music Hall’s, efforts were taken to minimize the room’s footprint and volume to create an acoustically intimate environment.

The ceiling was designed to counter-act the problematic fan plan shaping by introducing a rectilinear grid and was carefully coordinated with lighting design.  Specific room shaping minimized the use of absorptive finishes and achieve suitable environments for music, speech intelligibility (of sermons) and congregational participation to enhance the sense of excitement of people worshiping together.  The volume between the ceiling and the roof was designed for effective bass trapping to further enhance the room’s acoustical support of high power sound reinforcement and intimate speaking. This volume also supported a simple low-cost/low-noise air distribution system.

Willow Creek Community Church

South Barrington, IL

Project Type
New Construction

$65 Million

Square Footage



Seat Count

Goss Pasma

Theatre Consultant
Schuler Shook

Despite its enormity seating, conscious efforts achieved an acoustically intimate worship setting.    willowcreek1jpg   willowcreek2

As one of the first to introduce a passion for the arts into the culture of their services, space design required close collaboration with architects to strike harmony for the auditorium’s interior design.