The Future Home of the Unitarian Universalists of Central Oregon
Our new home promises to be a beautiful, welcoming space, both inside and out. Its design and placement will express a harmonious relationship with the land with a strong connection between interior and exterior spaces. Natural light, views, clean flowing lines, and organic textures, finishes, and colors will contribute to an environment that inspires community, spiritual contemplation, learning, and social action.
Our land is less than three miles from the heart of downtown Bend. As you head west on Skyliners Road, you will catch glimpses of the mountains before you turn onto Skyline Ranch Road and into our driveway. As you follow our driveway through the native landscape of ponderosa pines, junipers, bitterbrush, and sagebrush, you will have a chance to catch your breath. You will park among trees and walk along paths through natural areas to the building. ADA parking and spaces for limited mobility are conveniently located. The entry plaza is on the southeast – a welcoming place warmed by the morning sun. A path leads to the children’s play area and another to a nature trail that loops through the rest of our land, connecting to public hiking and bike trails that lead to the Deschutes National Forest and Three Sisters Wilderness.
On Sunday mornings you will be greeted as you enter the building. Visitors will be invited to stop by the welcoming table. The spacious corridor will draw people to the gathering space. You can stop by the vestibule between the conference room and administration offices, and check the bulletin board for activities and announcements. A fully equipped conference room will be available for discussions and meetings. The administration area has ample workspace for staff and volunteer help. The minister’s office is in a quiet corner, conducive to study and counseling.
Childcare and religious education space for children and youth are just past the welcoming area. Children and parents will enter into a commons, a versatile meeting and play space which houses the children’s library, AV area, and a small kitchen. All rooms are light and bright. Direct access to the commons and the outdoors increases the flexibility of all the spaces. Childcare and Pre-K/K rooms are at the east end where they will receive morning light. They are designed to accommodate a preschool, if we decide to have one in the future. Rooms for 1st through 5th and 6th through 8th graders are on the south side and are designed to encourage creativity and community. High school students will use the commons and youth space at other times. The conference room and multipurpose room will also be available for youth activities.
The gathering space is the heart of our home. This is where we’ll gather before and after services, for lunches and dinners together, and larger events. A glass wall faces south overlooking our land and opens onto a terrace. A more intimate fireside room opens off the gathering space. This will be a cozy place for reading and quiet conversation by the fire. Its wide doors will welcome people into the space, yet can be closed for small group discussions, classes, and meetings.
A multipurpose room, just off the gathering space, will be adaptable for many uses. This is where the choir will practice. It will be a medium size area for adult education classes and meetings. We expect the greater community will use this space, as well as other parts of the building, for meetings and conferences. But this can also be a quiet retreat. It looks out over the sacred grove of trees with a glimpse of a mountain in the distance, and will be an ideal place for meditation and yoga.
A commercial kitchen connects to both the multipurpose room and the gathering space. It will be a place where we can work together preparing meals for the congregation and perhaps the Bethlehem Inn or others, and where caterers can set up for larger events. There is an island surrounded by stools where small groups can gather. With plumbed coffeemakers adjacent to a pass-through connecting to the gathering area, our coffee and conversation time will be greatly enhanced.
The sanctuary opens to the gathering space with 12-foot wide sliding doors. This will make it an open welcoming area, and allows us to expand out into the gathering space on special occasions. Windows to the north look out to the sacred grove. To the south, a trombe wall is pierced with openings for light to filter through. Beyond that is a wall of glass, which will collect the warmth of the winter sun, but be shaded in the summer. The stage will be washed with light from a skylight, with a backdrop of warm cedar. The choir will be seated on the stage. Our piano will be concert quality, in keeping with our congregation’s love of music and expectation that the sanctuary will be used as a concert venue. Great attention is being paid to excellent acoustics. With a flat floor and moveable chairs, the sanctuary will be flexible for our own services as well as for a wide variety of other events.
To maximize use of our sanctuary space, there will be a backstage with a green room and restroom for participants and performers. The music library and choir director’s office are also located here.
Native rock walls connect the building with the landscape. Cedar siding on the exterior flows inside. The interior will be a mix of rock, wood, and natural plaster, with accents of bright color, similar to high desert wildflowers. Most of the floors will be polished concrete.
Sustainability has been a guiding principle from the beginning. The building is highly efficient with its southern orientation, mass walls, day lighting, natural ventilation, and other features. We have easily met the gold certification level of Earth Advantage and are exploring whether we can reach platinum. The building will be net zero ready, with the infrastructure in place for solar panels to be installed later. Our building will serve as an asset to the greater community of Bend as well as ourselves. With a variety of areas, all designed to be flexible and universally accessible, our new home will be very adaptable for use by others in the community—for conferences, lectures, concerts, retreats, classes, weddings, receptions, or simply a place to meet. Our trails and future labyrinth will be open to the community. Our new home and surrounding land will be a sanctuary for us all.
October 9, 2013