Oak Ridge Unitarian Church

Building Area: 17,000 s.f.

Date of Completion: N/A

Type: New Construction

Location: N/A

Budget: N/A

Challenge: Design a new church that will provide a community
gathering place as well as space for spiritual teaching and meditation.

Solution: The building is organized along a linear stone
wall, which serves to separate the spiritual and natural spaces from the
temporal and man-made world. A social hall, classrooms and administrative
offices are placed on the side of the wall towards the public road. Located
on the far side of the wall, the sanctuary and hearth lounge open to the
memorial garden. The stone wall contains core spaces such as mechanical,
electrical, and storage, as well as the fireplace.

The volume of the sanctuary is set back from the point of arrival to
create an entry patio framed by the hearth lounge and the social hall.
The entry is marked by a small reflection pool in front of the chimney.
Once inside, one passes through an opening in the stone wall to enter
the hearth lounge, which serves as an informal gathering space and as
a buffer from the sanctuary. In the sanctuary, wood posts and beams continue
through the space, creating a tree-like canopy overhead. This, in conjunction
with the openings that allow views into the garden, help to blur the line
between indoors and outdoors.