Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects recently completed interior renovations to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Annapolis’ (UUCA) church in Annapolis, Maryland.

The initial project improved the accessibility of the existing building and updated it to better accommodate fellowship, ministry, and religious education programs. Updates to restrooms and a new, centrally-located elevator connecting the two levels have made the facility 100% ADA accessible.

In addition to accessibility improvements, the project also included aesthetic upgrades and renovations, addressing durability, maintenance, and sustainability to support the goals of the Church. Murphy & Dittenhafer worked with the UUCA building committee to select materials that focused on sustainability, such as tiles composed of rapidly-renewable ingredients and carpet tiles with high recycled content.

The interior renovations were completed between August and November 2015.

Since the congregation has outgrown their worship and meeting spaces, the UUCA also engaged Murphy & Dittenhafer to design a larger, flexible, and more inspiring worship space, and an improved Narthex to promote conversation before and after services.

As part of a comprehensive master planning process, Murphy & Dittenhafer recommended designs for a 6,000-square foot worship space addition with lower-level meeting rooms, classrooms, and storage space. The timeline for construction of this future expansion has not been determined, but when built, it will provide the UUCA with a new 500-seat sanctuary with ample space for the congregation to collectively worship, with unfixed seating that can be rearranged in various configurations.

Construction of a spacious new Narthex would bridge the gap between the old and new spaces; enclosed by a segmented, floor-to-ceiling glass wall and natural materials, including locally-harvested stone, wood decking, wood beams, and a flat-seam copper roof.

The UUCA is located within the Chesapeake Bay critical area zone, so the proposed project site design for a future expansion reflects a rigorous approach to preserving the existing natural on-site vegetation and minimizing construction disturbance.