Church of All Souls: Our Building
The Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady is located on Wendell Avenue in the historic GE Realty Plot. A block away from Union College and centrally located between Schenectady’s downtown and Upper Union Street business districts, our church is surrounded by trees, gardens, and expansive lawns.
The church was designed by Edward Durell Stone and completed in 1961. Its dominant feature is the Great Hall, an amphitheater which steps downward in circular benches as the 60-foot dome rises above it. In addition to its religious functions, the 300-seat Great Hall often serves as dramatic stage, recital hall, dance platform, art museum and lecture rostrum. Since 1991, our society has been the home gallery of the Oakroom Artists, the area’s only “membership-by-invitation” art association.
A glass wall at the rear of the Great Hall overlooks the beautifully landscaped grounds and a welded sculpture entitled, “Sanctuary,” by Robert Blood. The front of the building is graced with a reflecting pool and fountains. Mr. Stone envisioned the fountains bathed in light during the evening hours and provided the lighting himself.fountains at church
The design of the church reflects the values and concerns of the congregation: circles of fellowship and unity. The interlocking circles of the specially designed cement blocks forming both exterior and interior walls suggest common experience, humanity, and church life. The minister’s study and library, the fireplace room and Emerson room (meeting places), and the church office are on the north side of the Great Hall. Each of these rooms has a sliding glass door that opens onto a balcony and overlooks a stream. The other side of the Great Hall houses four large meeting/dining rooms (two of these rooms function as classrooms for the RE program), a well-equipped kitchen, a sound room, and coat room. The dining rooms have sliding glass doors that open onto an open-air porch.circles form an external wall