CLA SITE provided historic preservation site design services for the Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, New York. The church and lagoon were originally designed by internationally acclaimed architect Edward Durrell Stone in 1961. Time and lack of maintenance caused the outside spaces, including the impressive reflecting pool with fountains, to deteriorate.

CLA SITE was commissioned to restore the outdoor spaces to achieve its original mission to be a space for peace and spiritual reflection. The fountains encompass three fountains along the northern edge of the building and six fountains along the southern end. A bridge crosses the dividing line, allowing pedestrians to come to the church’s front doors from the Wendell Road sidewalk. The restored pools are shallower in order to use less water and feature more decorative plantings.

ADA accessibility at the entire church site was a critical component of this project. The design team eliminated stairs and steps whenever possible. CLA SITE’s design improved accessibility through the grounds and to the building, restored the aesthetics of the grounds, improved functionality, preserved Edward Durrell Stone’s New Formalist style of architecture, improved safety and security at the location, provided construction detailing, and documented historic components for future researchers. Lastly, CLA SITE provided construction administration services on behalf of the client and ensured a seamless transition between the design, construction, and final project.

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