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, with a committee-based design process.
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Architects: el dorado inc
Location: Lawrence, Kansas, USA
Principal in Charge: Josh Shelton
Project Architect: Steve Salzer, AIA
Structural: CEO Engineers
MEP: Lankford and Associates
Landscape: Off the Grid
Lighting: Derek Porter Studio
General Contractor: Kelley Construction Company
Furniture Design and Fabrication: Zeke Henry
Owner: The Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence
Project Area: 4,000 sqf
Project Year: 2008
Renderings: el dorado inc
Photographs: Mike Sinclair
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.