The building of a new church—2004 to 2009
In 2004 our members voted unanimously to rebuild our church. Our previous church, built in the 1960s, had become oversized for the needs of the 21st century. We decided to replace it with a complex that would better serve today's congregation and community.
The church sought out architects experienced with a "Santa Barbara" look. We chose renowned architect Barry A. Berkus (1935-2012), A.I.A. of B3 Architects of Santa Barbara, California to design the new church. B3 had demonstrated its ability to deliver the look we desired, and we were confident they would create a thoughtful design that would incorporate the congregation's vision of our new home.
Our congregation decided on an Andalusian-influenced design for both aesthetic preference and to honor our West Coast founders and the early architectural influences of the region.
The design includes the repeated use of light and progressively higher arches and windows to symbolize a progressive rise in spiritual understanding. It uses light and space to convey a sense of peace and calm, which was important to us from the onset.
Integral to the design is our courtyard with a fountain and trees rooted in natural earth rather than concrete. The glass doors of our auditorium open onto this tranquil and harmonious space. Buffered by the surrounding buildings, the courtyard offers a respite from city life and a peaceful atmosphere for spiritual study or a quiet lunch.
Flexible space was also a consideration. Movable chairs in the main auditorium allow us to increase seating for larger events or make the space more intimate for smaller gatherings.
A special touch is the "children's window" next to the 5th Street entrance doors. From the small, arched window, children can see directly through to the Sunday School. The design also included a new home for our Reading Room, with a separate study room.