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The challenge of this project was to develop a sensitive renovation and expansion of a historic 1844 country church, to solve the major problems of no Narthex space, limited seating, narrow aisles and the need for a new connecting entry to the church from the classroom building (to alleviate disruptions created by the existing entry at the front of the Nave).
Faced with a tight construction budget and the ideas of two separate congregations, W2A developed a solution that blended the varied aspirations into a workable reality. With simple, straightforward detailing, the character and the intimacy of the original church was retained and accentuated. The project resolved circulation problems within the nave and throughout the church, expanded the altar area, increased the seating capacity (doubled size of original nave) and improved lighting and interior finishes.
This project was a recipient of the highest national religious design awards given by the American Institute of Architects, the “Religious Art and Architecture Award” presented by the AIA and the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture in 1994. The award jury specifically cited the manner in which the renovation united two structures for both congregations, the successful blending of old character with modern convenience, as well as handling of many important details. St. Peter’s Union Church also received an “Excellence in Architecture” Award from the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the AIA.