AIA Pittsburgh Design Award

Unitarian Universalist Church of the South Hills

Certificate of Merit, 2020

The Congregation previously converted this single-family hilltop home into their place of worship. Due to suburban housing growth around the originally expansive English-cottage style estate, the site area had been reduced and constrained over time, which limited the options for expansion. The thriving Congregation needed an expanded facility that better represented their spirituality, beliefs, and community.

The new outward-focused sanctuary is a beacon atop Sunnyhill. The constrained site boundaries are overlapping and reconciled, like the Unitarian and Universalist religions had come together to create a unified whole. The resulting new site axis creates a dynamic space that unifies the geometry of the existing building and the site, harmonizes the manufactured steel and natural wood materials, and focuses the dual outward and inward unity of the Congregation. Additionally, the original inward-focused sanctuary was converted into a new Social Hall. These meaningful design drivers culminate in the uplifting and inspirational new Sanctuary.

The jury commented:

  • Sunnyhill Unitarian Universalist Church presents a thoughtful juxtaposition between old and new, inside and outside. The modest material palette combined with elegant form are a breath of fresh air.
View Project