First Congregational Church

Boulder, Colorado

Artist Citation Award
Texas Society of Architects/American Institute of Architects

Architect: Slater Paull Architects, Denver, CO; Clayton Cole, AIA

Upper Window Reaching
12.1' w. by 11.0' h

Lower Window Meditation
2.0' w. by 10.8' h

5.6' w. by 2.4' h

Hidden Window
4.4' w. by 2.4' h

The Circular Chapel breaks free from its Spanish Revival-style context as it spirals heavenward. This helical, upward motion continues in its windows.

The stained glass echoes the steady, upward movement toward light/enlightenment embodied by First Congregational Church as it reaches out to those in need in the community and beyond.

The floor-level Meditation Window rises above a meditation area and fountain. Its rich saturated color invites contemplation as well as a sense of separation. Within this sea of deep color wisps of brighter white glass, lenses and dichroic accents waft upward toward a dramatic counterpoint above in the Upper Window: Reaching. An opal gridded circle hovers near the pool and repeats a similar pattern of the stained glass in the historic 100+ year old main Church a few feet away.

The contrasting Upper Window floats expansively above its intimate and inward companion below. The darker colors of the Meditation Window quickly fade into the Upper Window. Opal lenses from below have now become pure sparkling clear glass.

While rich color in the Meditation Window symbolizes our corporal existence, an achromatic range of glass predominate in the Main Window where they symbolize God and higher spiritual awareness. Sunny mornings reveal a dazzling white Cross wafting on a breeze that seems to be rising from the spiraling architecture. A background of clear, colorless, mouthblown glasses provide glimpses of sky and clouds.

Except for the Meditation Window, north facing Dove is the only window easily visible from outside. It greets approaching worshipers and anticipates the Main Window in both design and palette.

The Hidden (Holy Spirit) Window is tucked around a high corner and hidden from direct view. As the Chapel’s only south-facing window, it casts ever-changing highlights onto the Chapel’s curved outer wall. It is composed primarily of dichroic glass which means the patterns it projects shift in color as the sun’s moves across the sky. The Hidden Window Austrian lead-crystal prisms shower the interior with tiny spectra on sunny days.



Jeff Smith/Architectural Stained Glass designed the stained glass windows for our new chapel.  The openness and sensitivity with which Jeff worked with the church’s committee to envision this project was beyond our highest expectations.  The windows that Jeff designed, hand-crafted, and installed are now one of our church’s most highly prized architectural features.  Our members and visitors alike agree that these windows lead people to a sense of awe, mystery, beauty, and an experience of the holy.  I cannot say enough about the positive impact that Jeff Smith’s work has had on our faith community and all of the people from the wider community that use our chapel.

Thank you Jeff for being a light-bearer and bringing so much beauty into the world!

Martie McMane, Senior Pastor, First Congregational Church, Boulder, Colorado

Materials: German and French mouthblown glass, domestic rolled glasses, dichroic glass, hand-pressed lenses, Austrian lead-crystal prisms, lead and solder.