First Unitarian Society of Madison
First Unitarian Society Meeting House
First Unitarian Meeting House
|Location||Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin|
|Architect||Frank Lloyd Wright; Marshall Erdman|
|Architectural style||Modern Movement, Other|
|NRHP Reference #||73000076|
|Added to NRHP||April 11, 1973|
|Designated NHL||August 18, 2004|
First Unitarian Society of Madison (FUS) is a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Shorewood Hills, a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin. Its meeting house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by Marshall Erdman, and it is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. With over 2000 adults and children, it is one of the largest Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States. Known for its stimulating worship services led by a staff of three ministers, and an excellent music program with several choirs, FUS holds services three times on weekends during the fall, winter and spring, and two during the summer in addition to several special services during holidays.
FUS has extensive programs in children's and adult education. The society typically offers 10 different religious education classes each year for children and youth, varying from "Experiences with the Web of Life," an environmental awareness curriculum for 1st and 2nd graders, to "Mind Body Soul" a class to help 8th graders explore relationships and sexuality. The courses are taught cooperatively with a staff of professional educators guiding teams of volunteer teachers. The adult education program offers around 30 different member and staff-taught courses annually in two sessions each year. The topics range from "Environmental Ethics" to "Movement Meditation."
The society is housed in the historic Unitarian Meeting House, designed by one of its members and the son of two of its founders, Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright was commissioned to design the Meeting House in 1946. Construction began in 1949 and was completed in 1951. It is recognized as one of the most innovative examples of church architecture. In 1960, the American Institute of Architects designated it one of seventeen buildings to be retained as an example of Wright's contribution to American culture. The Meeting House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. In 2004, it was officially declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.
Construction of a major expansion of the FUS campus, designed by Kubala Washatko Architects, was completed in 2008, with a second, 500 seat Auditorium and new community spaces being added. Extensive repairs and restoration are also being made to the historic building. This expansion conforms to strict guidelines as to leave the historic portions of the grounds essentially unaltered.