Best New Building

The chapel at the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis

The members of the congregation of the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis had quite a dilemma when they wanted to expand their little church at the corner of Kingshighway and Waterman Boulevard. On the one hand, the original 1913 building was a gorgeous example of Gothic in limestone. On the other hand, the church elders of the 1960s had seen fit to augment the edifice with an addition in a style best described as International Drab. In architectese, the two buildings spoke different languages. They were already joined physically; now they needed to be joined aesthetically. The resulting chapel is a study in restraint. Wrapped in a subdued façade of rough-hewn limestone, the chapel's wall of glass doors looks out onto the original vine-covered church. Along with the other two structures, the chapel forms an internal courtyard, gifting the simple space with a close tie to the outdoors. With its parquet floor, suspended ceiling, recessed windows and white walls, the new chapel at the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis goes to show that a little money can go a long way.
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