The Unity Church congregation was determined to remain in their Byrd Park building on Blanton Avenue. They needed more space to meet their goals and accommodate their active community missions.
The original 1962 chapel was modest and presented distinct challenges: accessibility was poor, via stairs either up to the sanctuary or down to the community room and classrooms; the entry foyer could not accommodate more than six people at a time; and the classrooms had acoustical issues to be resolved.
The congregation was also interested in projecting a welcoming and current image of their church, an image that reached out, opened inward, and created a beacon.
The addition offers a focal point at the new entrance and a “gathering space” with a large, glass opening to French Street. The entrance is accentuated by the new tower which appears when approaching the building from either facing street. In the evening the “window to the world” on French Street allows clear vision to the activities of the “gathering space.”
The new, oversized brick façade, detailed with rusticated brick, creates a light but grounded addition. To the existing faces of the sanctuary on Blanton Avenue and the administrative wing on French Street, similarly clad projections were added, twining the new and old elements.
The overall design offers a nod to modernism as an expression of Unity’s spirit and positive, forward perspective.