First Unitarian Church is an expressive example of the modern movement in Ottawa, and is characterized by the use of wood. Four curvilinear glulam beams ascend from the horizontal, beyond the four corners of the sanctuary, to culminate seamlessly in a needle-like spire at the apex. The striking silhouette of the roof, clad in shingles and copper, is a visual landmark from the nearby John A. Macdonald Parkway.
The sanctuary is characterized by its corner entry, column-free space, subtle descent to the pulpit, and curved wood-clad ceiling. The windows, suspended light fixtures, ceiling, pulpit and pews all exhibit excellent design and craftsmanship in wood, and achieve a cohesive ensemble.
The First Unitarian Church garnered an award from the Ottawa Association of Architects in 1967. Now part of a much-expanded campus for the congregation and its community, Craig and Kohler’s First Unitarian Church remains the focal point of the ensemble.