AKA: Wayside Church Of Christ, Federal Way, WA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: Calhoun Construction Company (firm); Kirk, Wallace, McKinley AIA and Associates, Architects (firm); Notkin, James B., and Associates, Mechanical Engineers (firm); Sparling, Thomas E. and Associates, Electrical Engineers (firm); Worthington, Skilling, Helle and Jackson, Structural Engineers (firm); Calhoun (building contractor); Jerry Geyer (architect); Helge Joel Helle (structural engineer); Joseph F. Jackson (structural engineer); Paul Hayden Kirk (architect); David A. McKinley Jr. (architect); James Benjamin Notkin (mechanical engineer); John Bower Skilling (structural engineer); Thomas E. Sparling Sr. (electrical engineer); Donald Sheridan Wallace (architect); Harold L. Worthington (structural engineer)

Dates: [unspecified]

2000 SW Dash Point Road
Federal Way, WA 98023-5181

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SW Dash Point Road and Highway 509


Seattle architectural firm, Kirk, Wallace and McKinley, designed the two main buildings--a chapel and an administration building--comprising the Wayside Congregational Church (WCC) in Federal Way, WA; they were completed c. 1962. The WCC Administration Building contained church offices, an education wing with classrooms for Sunday school classes, a nursery, the Memorial Lounge, the Fellowship Hall, and restrooms. The church sanctuary--the main hall of worship--was located in the chapel wing. WCC occupied a wooded six-acre site in 2016.

Building History

Kirk, Wallace, McKinley and Associates designed a hexagonal chapel, lifted on posts above a natural dip in the landscape. As a writer for Progressive Architecture wrote in 1963, the parti was developed responding to the site conditions: "A shallow depression shaped like a key-hole provided the inspiration in siting this church and school complex for an expanding congregation. The chapel is elevated on wood posts and a concrete block core above the 10-ft. deep hollow. Bridges connect it to the classroom building, which encircles the round end of the keyhole depression. The narrow end will be graded to provide seating for an outdoor devotional area." (See "Chapel in the Vale," Progressive Architecture, vol. 44, no. 11, 11/1963, p. 152-155.) As regional modern architects, Paul Hayden Kirk and his younger partners produced site-responsive design solutions, this church being an excellent example of how their sensitivity to the immediate environment shaped their oeuvre.

The chapel was joined to a nearby classroom building via a covered walkway. Kirk has clad the chapel in wood shingles and siding, and all supports are also wood posts. The corridor spaces linking rooms of the administration building were planned to be external, enabling further connection to nature. The building cost approximately $60,000 c.1962.

Building Notes

The steeple of the WCC demonstrated Kirk's mastery of wooden structural details. Composed of laminated beams, all structural connections were made manifest to worshippers in the hexagonal chapel. The steeple blends rusticity and technological modernism; glue-laminated wooden beams were a recent product of the forest product industry, and the skylight at the steeple's peak was plastic. The detailing of connections between the six 5.25-inch by 13-inch glue-lam beams and a central, steel, compression ring just under the skylight were particularly outstanding. The architects welded six steel plates radiating out at 60-degree intervals from the central ring and embedded them in the center of each glue-lam member. Four bolts in each beam secured the wood and metal connection, creating a stark contrast between the thin metai pieces and thick wood supports. The beams and their metal connections "point" to the compression ring, emphasizing its roundness compared to the hexagon above it.

At this time, Kirk, Wallace and McKinley were exploring the creative possibilities of hexagonal geometries to provide more surface area for windows. The firm did the same thing at the contemporary Haggett Hall Dormitory on the University of Washington campus. In this design, dorm rooms were hexagonal to maximize window exposures to outstanding views of the Cascade Mountains and Lake Washington to the east.


WCC began a significant restoration and expansion of the Fellowship Hall in the spring of 2013.

PCAD id: 6425