Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd | Preserving Character


The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Minneapolis had begun to turn the page into a new chapter, which called for an adaptation to their sacred space to meet contemporary needs. Originally built over 65 years ago, the renovation aimed to uphold the historic integrity and respectfully adapting the Vic Gilbertson, FAIA mid-century modern church to meet current programmatic needs.

The Kodet Team understood the importance of this historic restoration and through carefully studying sketches and the building’s artwork we were able to develop a better understanding for the back-story and connection to the details.

Integral to the renovation was the idea of strengthening the bond between the church and the congregation, which reflects the celebration of their faith and community. The ever-present theme was preservation + improving functionality to serve current and future generations.



The renovation and restoration looked how to make the best use of the buildings great art and architecture. A key element was to connect the existing sanctuary to the existing courtyard originally separated by brick wall with stained glass windows.

By removing the south wall of the nave, we were able to expand the space by creating large custom wood sliding doors. These grand doors open the worship space to the new catwalk, which features a balcony overlooking the updated exterior courtyard.

The worship expansion and inclusion of these custom doors incorporated the relocated original stained glass and allows a full view over the courtyard and introduces natural light into the sanctuary. Most importantly, we were able to creatively save and utilize the existing stained glass panels.

By using materials original to the building and combining this with the glass, the changes transformed the church from an introverted interior focused space to a welcoming, light-filled, and flexible space.




The existing worship space was in need of a light and acoustical upgrade, the design team worked to develop a custom acoustical cloud baffle, which hung from the ceiling of the nave. The baffle not only improved the sound of the space, but also provided lighting within the worship space and better highlighted the beautiful brick details of the space.Lighting within the cloud baffle was designed to illuminate the religious stencils once unnoticed in the ceiling.

It was the details of incorporating the history and community of the church that carried forth the original design.