Live Oak Friends Meetinghouse
Location & Year: Houston, TX - 2000
Size: 3,483 SF Part of a campus originally designed to include three structures on a heavily wooded site in north Houston, the meeting house’s design accommodates a Sky Space by artist James Turrell. Leslie Elkins Architecture developed the master plan for the site and the program for the three buildings. The meeting house accommodates 100 people in the central gathering space, foyer, service area, and restrooms. The program called for a contemplative place, without hierarchy, where the Friends gather. Often meetings are silent, requiring that the room be quiet and free from distraction. The interior ancillary spaces are separated from the meeting room by small transition spaces to minimize noise. Ten-foot deep porches wrap the building, offering additional outdoor gathering space, and provide shade in the summer months. All mechanical systems are placed within the two-foot thick walls, also providing insulation and allowing for the deep window seats along the two long walls of the meeting room.
In the center of the meeting room exists a James Turrell “skypiece.” A 12’-0” x 12’-0” opening in the roof allows light to enter directly and the seating is placed around this aperture. The Quaker religion holds “light” as its analogy for the Almighty. In transitional Meeting Houses Friends typically sat in a circle, or in as this case, a square facing each other, the design a contemporary interpretation. The interior finishes are wood and concrete floors, and plaster walls. The building’s plan, form, and palette are purposely restrained in keeping with the Friends’ belief in simplicity. 2001 Design Awards, AIA Houston
2001 Honor Award, TSA

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