The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville’s new sanctuary has helped to fulfill the congregation’s vision for expanded space for worship, education, and fellowship

. The sanctuary was constructed after several years of careful planning that addressed the diverse and growing needs of the suburban church. Conceived as a strong, pavilion-like structure, the multipurpose facility accommodates a variety of functions for small and large groups.

Details

  • Master plan and design of a versatile sanctuary and gathering space
  • Design complements the site’s woodland setting while reflecting the broader church mission of diversity and social responsibility
  • Sustainable measures include an energy-efficient mechanical system, passive solar measures, and cork floor

Type

Awards

  • Peerless Rockville Award of Merit for New Construction in a Historic District

REFLECTING A VISION

Established in the 1960s, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville focuses on personal growth, social justice, and community involvement. Services had been held in a bland space, and the congregation sought a larger sanctuary that would reflect its spiritual mission. After developing a master plan for long-term growth, the design team assisted the church with materials to support its capital campaign, and then designed the sanctuary. The structure is a two-story facility that connects to the original structure, with a flexible sanctuary space and a basement level that features educational spaces, meeting rooms and restrooms. 

A SHELTERING COMMUNITY

A multi-roofed system symbolizes the church’s philosophy of a strong, sheltering community built upon diverse and individualistic views. As a defining feature, the roof hovers above a delicate steel structure, intentionally separated from the enclosing glass wall to reinforce this concept. 

Lit from within, the structure serves as a beacon for evening activities.The multi-roofed system is expressed as a sheltering pavilion.The design of the sanctuary complements its natural setting.The new sanctuary structure accommodates worship as well as educational activities, meetings, and social gatherings.The design features abundant expanses of glass.

SUSTAINABLE CONCEPTS

The building was detailed to express distinct materials, systems, and components. Sustainable elements include an energy-conserving mechanical system, passive solar measures, and the largest single cork floor installation in North America.