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2010 Design Excellence Awards
Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence
The Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence is located on a rural site about 10 miles south of Lawrence, Kansas. For years, the Fellowship held services within an existing 1880’s one-room schoolhouse. In the late 1960’s, the church added a classroom wing, which allowed the Fellowship continued growth. During the summer of 2006, the church elected to construct a new entry lobby and sanctuary large enough for 150 members, and hired an architect to lead a committee-based design process.
The grounds proved to be the guiding force for the new sanctuary design. Century-old hedge trees line the south and west edges of the site. Their high canopies provide strategic summer shading while also framing generous views of pastures to the south. The new sanctuary structure, intimately nestled between the hedgerows and the historic schoolhouse structure, offers a site-sensitive response to scale, materiality, shelter, and expanse. The horizontal line, a poetic reference to the surrounding Kansas landscape, is utilized throughout the new architecture and underscores a Unitarian approach to spirituality rooted in Humanism and respect for the natural world.