The Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence occupies an 1880s schoolhouse set among a century-old hedge grove. The tranquility of the bucolic setting, complete with old growth trees and rolling farmlands, set the tone for a recent lobby and meeting space addition by the Kansas City, Mo., architecture firm El Dorado. The 4,000-square-foot expansion that provided the 150-member congregation with extra room for meetings and community activities, and challenged Derek Porter Studio with developing a lighting scheme that would reinforce the fluid indoor-outdoor relationship established by the architecture.

The designers developed the electric lighting scheme in relation to the project's ample daylight. In the lobby, which also features a kitchen alcove, fluorescent covelights incorporated within architectural folds provide general illumination while concealing the sources. Similar fluorescent strips placed above the kitchen cabinetry work in tandem with an adjacent clerestory window, and fluorescent strips in a coat closet render the sheer curtain that conceals it luminous when closed. Dimmable MR16 flush-mounted downlights provide additional illumination for special functions.

In the meeting space, daylight and electric light were again employed, this time to frame a blond wood “box” that serves as a stage. The room's ambient light comes from flush-mounted MR16s, installed in an irregular pattern across the ceiling plane. The stage itself is illuminated by a combination of PAR38 tracklights concealed above the ceiling and linear fluorescent coves that wash the back wall. All light sources can be controlled from a simple wall-mounted switch box, giving the congregation the power to light their space as the need demands.

Jury Comments
Denise Fong: An elegant integration of the lighting.
Mike Gehring: The architecture is spectacular.
Sandra Stashik: A little gem of a project.

Manufacturers / Applications
Contrast: Adjustable gimbal ring in multi-purpose space H.E.
Williams: T5HO strip fluorescent covelights in lobby and linear fluorescent under-counter striplights in kitchen
Pure Lighting: Trimless MR16 and LED downlights in multi-purpose space
Vision 3: Ring mount
Ruud Lighting: PAR38 stage tracklighting