Judging Buildings Reader Request


“Dear PoP,

I see online that it is, or was, Brookland week. I would encourage you to stop by the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, just north of the Basillica off of Harewood Rd. I drove up Harewood Avenue after mass at the Basillica a few weeks ago and was like, “What the heck is that?” Personally, I think the building and front lawn are gorgeous!”

Yup, was pretty taken with this building. And the lawn was amazing. I was telling my buddy who was showing me around that this would be a great spot for a frisbee game. I have truly enjoyed “Brookland week”! Also right next door to the Cultural Center is another cool church – Ukranian Catholic Shrine.



But I’m most curious what you think about the Cultural Center located at 3900 Harewood Road, NE?

11 Comment

  • I’ve never had a chance to check out any of the exhibits there but they have a children’s play area on the lower level that’s a real hidden gem of a place to go on a cold/rainy day with a toddler or young child. Lots of fun little activities and the bathroom has neat kid-sized toilets. (I’m easily amused.) If Catholicism or religion in general is an issue then obviously steer clear but the dress-up area with the saint costumes is priceless.

  • Great place for kids, word. The interior spaces throughout are very cool, too (if you like modern): lots of cool lines and nice materials. I’ve seen some cool exhibits there over the years, but I don’t think they rotate very often. Non-believers like myself are allowed.

  • The JPII Center is a huge white elephant – – and ugly too. The JPII Center was the brainchild of Cardinal Maida, who was until this past January, the Archbishop of Detroit. None of the intended uses of the JPII Center ever really worked out. The Center never generated the kinds of funds it was supposed to, causing serious financial damage to its investors, including the Detroit Archdiocese. There was some talk about selling the Center to Notre Dame so they could have a DC base or some other Catholic college/university, but that hasn’t happened.

    The Ukrainian Shrine has never been completed, I don’t think. I’ve been there for a few events and liturgies, and I like the interior of the church, but it badly needs some repairs, even though the building is only about 30 years old.

  • The interactive galleries on the lower level aren’t functioning. They say that the company stopped making the parts to fix the computers. Too bad. They would fill the gap between the toddler playroom and the “look but don’t touch” adult galleries.

  • The JPII Cultural Center was designed by Leo A Daly. It has garnered numerous design awards from the AIA and others. More photos are on their website: http://www.leoadaly.com/projects.aspx?wpage=featured&seq=051-01193-MK1

    There is no published record of the architect of the Ukrainian shrine. The lower church was built in 1979. The upper church was completed in 2004.

  • Frisbee? I find that funny, because I almost wrote in my original email, “the front lawn would be the perfect place for an afternoon picnic, they really need a few picnic tables.”

  • PoP come on.. lotza churches and such. Itz gettin hot in here so take off all yo clothes.
    I need alil sin for all this salvation.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Hahaha. No worries Sully. I’m doing an expose on The House next week!

  • A) PoP please please tell me you’re not kidding about doing a story on The House! 🙂 I can’t wait. You should add Macombo Lounge and Royal Palace and make it a day of strip club adventures.

    B) The PJPII center’s best feature in my mind: In the small chapel in the front of the building is designed to at certain times of day pick up light from the reflecting pool out front and through angled windows, makes a little light show on the walls that makes it look like you’re under water, waves on the walls and whatnot.

  • >There is no published record of the architect of the Ukrainian shrine.

    Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Shrine was designed by Miroslav Nimciv, a parishioner and architect. See http://www.scribd.com/doc/12844628/The-Ukrainian-Weekly-199942 , page 20.

  • My favorite part of the Ukrainian Shrine: the weathered Bingo sign out front.

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