Mile Hi Church Sanctuary / Fentress Architects

© Jerry Butts

Mile Hi Church in Lakewood, has added a new dome to their campus. The expanding congregation commissioned Fentress Architects to create a new Sanctuary to accommodate their growing needs for space. The design is a contemplative space with attentive consideration for the church’s needs and the campus history influencing the design.

Architect: Fentress Architects
Location: Lakewood, Colorado,
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Jerry Butts, Ben Tremper Photography, Mile Hi Church

© Mile Hi Church

The church has been located on its existing campus since the early 1970s and had grown significantly, necessitating the new Sanctuary by Fentress Architects. The first building on the site was built in 1973 and is also a white domed structure. Two other buildings, a Community Center and administrative building, were added in 1999.

Campus Plan

The new building by Fentress Architects was considerate of the particular needs of Mile Hi Church. The church required a space to seat 1500, but wanted to do so on a budget. The building by Fentress Architects not only addressed the need for space, and budget restrictions in their design, they also took sustainability and the particular spatial qualities a religious sanctuary evokes into special consideration.

© Ben Tremper Photography

The new Sanctuary was completed in 2008 and the dome structure was actually much less expensive than a traditional steel roof structure. Fentress Architects constructed the dome from the interior. A fabric roof membrane was inflated, insulated and reinforced with steel rebar and a concrete coating to form the 232 foot wide and a 60 foot high dome. The dome is the largest in the metro Denver area and is surrounded by a brick structure around the exterior with supporting program.


The large dome allowed for the interior space to be an impressive open span. The Mile Hi Church Sanctuary is fitted with a large stage, theatre seating and an advanced sound and lighting system. Speakers have been arranged within the dome to form an “all-seeing eye” above the congregation.

© Ben Tremper Photography

Fentress Architects created an original building for the Mile Hi Church. Their design fits the needs of the church and adds to it many levels of thoughtful consideration. The new Sanctuary is a proud new building on the Mile Hi Church Sanctuary to be enjoyed by generations to come.

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Cite: "Mile Hi Church Sanctuary / Fentress Architects" 19 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Mikko H

    Isn’t a dome the worst shape for acoustics? I guess they’re not worried about acoustic music in that church.

  • mvb

    I expected something interesting when I looked at the exterior view, but it looks like a concert hall inside. So disappointing…

  • archi

    Come on, Arch Daily. Please can you put some architecture on your website again?

  • Archreviewer

    Mile Hi? Sounds like a joke!

  • Paul Harding, FAIA

    This is worst possible shape for acoustics. For time eternal worship buildings have been about daylight, quality natural acoustics, and inspiring architecture. This dreadful building has none of that. This has to be the worst building on this fine web site. This really awful building should not be here and should be taken off.