For years, Gbagada in Lagos State has served as a Jerusalem of some sort, boosting the religious, aesthetic and socio-economic status of the axis; becoming a dream destination to Deeper Christian Life Ministry (DCLM) members and other worshipers.
When a befitting headquarters began at Ayodele Oke-Owo Street in June 17, 2005, it was not a surprise to the residents that the Deeper Christian Life) headquarters will be situated in the community.
Messrs Trevi foundation, a foremost contractor engineering firm in Nigeria handled the pilling works to the project, which occupies about 7,000 square metres land area for the main building, aside the auxiliary car parks and other facilities.
To get quality job delivery, the sub-structural works was awarded to Messrs Cappa & D’Alberto PLC on March 8, 2006 while the super structure, which is the building itself, was awarded to the same contractor on February 26, 2007.
Experts say the worth of the edifice is estimated at about $16million but church officials were silent on the financial implication. We gathered that funds for the project was raised through financial donations, contributions and supports from members while the human and skill capacities were galvanised from the team of consultants comprising; engineers, architects, electricians, surveyors among others. A 20-member committee of professionals was assembled from the church to oversee the building.
Some of the unique features of the main building which seats 30,000 capacity include; the main bowl of about 16-21metres high, basement of 16,500 metres for 7,500 children capacity, stair hall to all galleries, 555 car parking lot, 76 BB buses capacity, ceiling staged air conditioning chillers, Close Circuit Televisions (CCTV) and security check points for all worshippers.
The project also has, four galleries, three large screens that are wall-mounted; one fitted in video-wall with most galleries fitted with chairs ordered from France.The roof structure is a massive Ironwork and, “we never used a crane rather we used girders of up to four metres deep due to the heavy load”, a project official stated.
Speaking, on the project, the architect, Pastor Kayode Dada told The Guardian that the design for the project started late October 2003 and lasted for about 18 months before approvals were gotten from the Lagos State government to build the 30,000 capacity headquarters church.He said the concept was clear based on the population demand and that the church had to buy more lands and houses around the premises in order to achieve the goal and objective of the project.
“We kept increasing the expanse of land to have enough space to move around. The building itself is about 7,000 square metres and it is such an organic development. The gallery recesses from the main-bowl. We have majorly three galleries and there is one place we have four galleries. The design is quite geometric. Wherever you are sitting in the building, you have the privileged to have direct and clear optical communication with the preachers. The preacher is the focus point of the design. No columns at all. The span is quite expansive ranging from 25metres and above. In the aesthetics, you have different colours and the materials used are acoustic; absorbs sounds and no trace of echo”.
“The basement is about 6,500metres for 7,500 children. There are stair halls for every gallery. The design is also to make congregants gather and evict them so easily and so fast because it is so porous with 14 entries. Those were the fundamental principles of the design”, he said.He further disclosed that “There were quite a lot of challenges during the construction. For instance, we are already on the ceiling level and we suddenly realize that because of the sensitive equipment that will be coming in, it became necessary for us to start installing a central air conditioning system which was a huge investment and construction for us and some of the ceilings were removed.”, he stated.
Also, the project director of Deeper Life Christian Ministry, national headquarters, Pastor Gerry Asemota explained that as the population started to outgrown the existing old structure on the site which was built in the late 1970/early 1980, there was the need to expand hence the commencement of the ready for commission project.
“This project started 2005, we had an old structure here many years ago and we were having five services every Sunday and God helped us as the congregation grew large and there was need to expand and reflect the demand of the moment and the vision of our general superintendent which actually brought about the design of another church building. With the directives given by our general superintendent, a team of engineers and architects were gathered from the church.
The architect who designed the building is a member of the church and all the structural engineers. Many of us gave full time service from the start of the project till now”, he disclosed.He said the installation was done by one of the contractors from Italy who trained the project workforce to do the bulk of the job. “The deep girders span like 30-metres and there are no columns in the middle to support inside the church. The roof structures were not erected by means of cranes because the building has been built and so if we were to erect the roof at that stage the crane needed to go inside and be lifting up the truces up and it would be difficult for crane to erect the roof.
“The contractor that fabricated the roof structure did not even have the capacity to erect them and so get our men together before we arrived at an ingenious solution”, he stated.According to him, the main contractor Cappa & D’Alberto had to lift up the truces in segments to certain level before the arrangement in a normal and appropriate order.
He said; “The ceiling is quite unique as we used stretched ceiling which is something like a cellophane sheet, not transparent but something between cellophane and tapeline. It is so called because you need to hit it then it will expand before you anchor it. The heating allows all the wrinkles to go up. We used different colours and they all played well and beautiful. The whole facility is air conditioned because of the population”.
“The sound system is another unique feature, it is powerful and made by Meyer sound of the United States of America and DiGiCo of the United Kingdom. The place accommodates the English, the Yoruba and other languages that are reached in their various segments where the worshippers are sitting. There are sections for the youths, university students and the basement is dedicated for the children”, he said.