First United Methodist Church

Downtown Madison, Wisconsin

The First United Methodist Church has a long and deep-rooted history within its community in downtown Madison. The 26,000 square foot addition was built to provide support spaces including a narthex, fellowship hall, administrative offices, classrooms, a food pantry, and a chapel.

The interior design revolves around the idea of providing a welcoming experience for members and visitors. Warm colors, high levels of light and small breakout spaces create a comfortable atmosphere.

On the first floor, the octagonal narthex serves as the hub of church activity and provides a formal gathering space before and after church services. The shape was inspired by the original octagonal-shaped sanctuary, and each wall features beautiful backlit salvaged stained glass panels above built-in seating units. The fellowship hall was designed to provide for maximum flexibility. The floor to ceiling windows maximize daylight and create a visual connection with the street.

The second floor chapel serves as a space for education, quiet retreat and reflection, small ceremonies and the gathering of weekday study groups. The three themes of water, fire and light guided the design. Large windows introduce a plethora of natural daylight, making the space feel bright and airy, while mechanical window shades allow the chapel to easily transform into a presentation space.

The Chartres Labyrinth was the basis of the design due to its strong sense of center and simplicity, which was reiterated within the ceiling and lighting design. A double light cove creates light level flexibility for the multiple functions of this room, while highlighting the central element of the space. A textured wall suggests gentle waves relating back to the water ceremonies practiced in the Methodist faith. Dramatic lighting accentuates the relief. These elements were used to bring interest to the back wall, without detracting from the architectural ceilings and labyrinth.

Awards and Recognition
/ 2008, International Interior Design Association – Award of Excellence
/ 2008, American Society of Interior Designers, Gold Award for Custom Design

Madison, WI

First United Methodist Church

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