Seven Years in the Making

We are thrilled to witness the last chapter in the story about “the little church that could.” In February, 2020, Riverside Baptist Church was certified by the US Green Building Council – a long standing project goal – marking project completion. Project design began in 2013 and even with construction completed in 2018, closing out all components extended until recently.


GBR Architects was commissioned with the design to replace a church situated in the center of The Wharf, one of the region’s most ambitious developments.  Envisioned as a destination waterfront community by developers PN Hoffman (now Hoffman and Associates) partnered with Madison Marquette, Riverside Baptist Church literally sat at the front door of the future development immediately across Maine Avenue SW. The Riverside project included both a new church for Riverside and a mixed use, multifamily residential development on the former church property.


The new church is LEED® Silver-certified. Sustainable features include bio-retention planters that work with the court design separating the church, the residential tower and green roof areas to manage storm water runoff. Day-lighting and automatic lighting controls reduce energy use. Solar gain is managed by high-performance glazing and interior and exterior shading devices. By reducing energy demand with these and similar features a more energy efficient heating and cooling system was deployed.


In addition to this achievement, church members have gained much more.  Originally dismayed at loss of their 1967 structure, the architects at GBR Architects included several pieces of the former building in their design for the new home.  Most prominent of these features are stained glass which was used in creative ways to welcome worshipers, to tell their story to all those visitors to The Wharf across the street and more importantly to remind the congregation of their roots and their living history as part of the SW community.


GBR Architects provided planning, architecture, and interior design services. Additional team members included the Potomac Energy Group for mechanical, electrical, and fire protection engineering; Ehlert Bryan, Inc for structural engineering; lighting design by MCLA Architectural Lighting Design; Polysonics for AV/IT, acoustics and telecommunications; Landscape Architecture Bureau for site and landscape development and Wiles Mensch Corporation as project civil engineers.


For more information about Riverside, please visit:


Seven Years in the Making