Our renovated mid-century modern building includes modern air conditioning, non-gendered individual bathroom stalls, walk in entrance, and an elevator. Located in a quiet residential neighborhood, we offer stunning views of the nearby Walker Art Center and downtown Minneapolis. Ours is a welcoming space for all people, and small and large events.
Opened in 1951, First Unitarian Society’s building is located on Lowry Hill. The architect, Roy N. Thorshov, was a member of the Society and a noted Minnesota architect associated with the firm of Thorshov and Cerny. Mr. Thorshov, who received first prize from the Religious Guild in the Exhibit of Church Architecture for the building, described it as a “contemporary building for a contemporary religion.” Today the building is considered an outstanding example of mid-century modern architecture.
Built of distressed salmon-colored brick, the facility originally included an assembly hall seating 480 persons, with seating for another 250 in the balcony, a lower-level assembly space, library, classrooms, and offices. An addition, dedicated in 1965 and designed by the architectural firm of Peterson, Clark and Griffith, Inc., provided more classrooms and office space, and a vestibule on the Groveland Avenue entrance.
Approaching the building from Mount Curve Avenue, one immediately notices its low profile. Unlike many religious buildings that feature towers and spires, the Society’s structure appears to hug the earth. This sense of oneness with nature is further enhanced by a “colonnaded” walkway that, much like a cloister, wraps around the front of the building and leads to a partially enclosed courtyard.
The upper assembly hall features a north-facing window that bathes the interior in natural light and provides access to the exterior world, consisting of the buildings of downtown Minneapolis and even a peek at Claus Oldenburg’s “Spoonbridge and Cherry” in the sculpture garden of Walker Art Center.
The Society’s organ was dedicated in November 1962. Built by the Holtkamp Organ Company of Cleveland, Ohio, the pipe organ has 25 stops and three manuals. The exterior of the cabinet is oak, finished to harmonize with the existing wood work of the building.