Boston staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association moved from Beacon Hill to the new UUA headquarters at 24 Farnsworth Street in May. The UUA worked with architectural firm Goody Clancy to renovate the first three floors of a six-story 1915 warehouse in the city’s Seaport District, or “Innovation District.” The result is an open, contemporary space designed to welcome visitors, encourage collaboration, and express the UUA’s commitment to environmental responsibility. The U.S. Green Building Council will evaluate the building for LEED certification this fall.
A reception area (shown in photograph above) features video screens that are part of a new “Heritage and Vision at 24” installation, which will also include artifacts and interpretive materials. The 1965 Selma Civil Rights memorial, for example, installed in Eliot Hall at 25 Beacon Street, the UUA’s longtime home, is now mounted at the top of the staircase above. Portraits of William Ellery Channing and Hosea Ballou, preeminent figures from nineteenth-century Unitarianism and Universalism, hang on the second floor; other portraits have been digitized and are displayed in rotation on video monitors.
The second-floor chapel, just above the reception hall, has seven cantilevered wooden ceiling panels and four steel-reinforced columns with seven cut-out circles that allude to the UUA’s Seven Principles. Channing’s eighteenth-century Federal Street Church pulpit has been fitted with twenty-first century wiring to enable multimedia presentations. UUA, Beacon Press, and Church of the Larger Fellowship staff, who had offices in thirteen floors in three buildings on Beacon Hill, work in smaller, open workspaces lit by large windows, with a variety of meeting rooms in the center of the building.