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Domusstudio architecture finishes church destroyed by wildfire

San Diego-based domusstudio architecture has completed work on the Malibu Presbyterian Church.

The 8,000-square-foot church replaces the original structure that was destroyed by wildfires in 2007. The church’s steel beam cross was the only item salvaged from the fire and incorporated in the new house of worship. The steel beam stands on the chancel as a symbol of faith.

The church's exterior is comprised of glass and brick wall. Some of the new features inside include a balcony, a seating area that wraps around the alter and a sound system with a video screen.

“Not only were we challenged by church members to create a worship venue that captured the coastline views, but also to create a space that was acoustically correct for their worship style,” said David Keitel, senior associate at domusstudio. “On top of that, we had to contend with stringent seismic and wind zone regulations and the highest fire-rated zone in the state.”

To help reduce the damage when it comes to fires, the building has stone-clad exterior walls, a single-sloped copper roof and noncombustible materials throughout the church.

The church is also made up of used tinted laminated glass, high-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems to improve energy efficiency and reduce the structure’s carbon footprint.

A rendering of the Malibu Presbyterian Church upon completion of the planned administrative offices, preschool building and community center. Photo courtesy of domusstudio architecture

The design and construction took four years, beginning with meetings with church members to come up with plans that captured what they wanted in their new church, including incorporating what parishioners loved about the old sanctuary.

The new structure is the first step in restoring Malibu Presbyterian Church.

Construction of the 9,000-square-foot administrative offices and preschool building is scheduled to begin this week. Future plans for a community center, open to all Malibu residents, is also in the planning stages.

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