New PoP Contributor, Kash, Defends The Third Church of Christ, Scientist

by Prince Of Petworth — June 3, 2009 at 11:00 am 81 Comments


Welcome new PoP contributor, Kashuo Bennett. He could not have arrived at a better time. I’ve been wondering for a while what you folks thought about this building and whether or not it should be demolished. Though I don’t necessarily agree with Kash, I’m glad to hear his perspective. Kash will be contributing a variety of posts about DC’s unique architecture.

  • Anonymous

    This building is unique and one of the only Brutalist-style buildings in the District, so I strongly believe this building should be protected. Plus, the building is cool as shit!

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t these the turd-tards that will let their kids suffer / die from simple treatable diseases because they believe god wants it that way?

  • a nony mouse

    @ Anon at 11:10 am: Clearly you haven’t walked down K, L or M streets or taken a look at the multitude of Federal buildings in SW. There are PLENTY of Brutalist-style buildings in the District. IMO raze all of them. The architect on this particular building even admitted that it wasn’t his best work.

  • the building is cool as shit!

    S**t being the key word here.

    Does the need for historic preservation trump the property rights of the site’s owner? Or the needs of the surrounding community? It’s an important question, and one that’s going to be asked more often as more properties are developed. And maybe next time, it’ll be a fug building on your street, or even the one that you own, that’ll be the target of preservationists.

  • SG

    This is definitely not “one of the only brutalist style buildings in the District”. Wish it were.

    Tear it down. Whether it is “historic” is largely subjective anyways. You think so, but quite honestly most don’t. So why should a 40 year old building that everyone hates be saved? Especially since the congregation that owns it wants to demolish it? Aren’t you basically telling an owner what they can and can’t do with a property?

    I think there needs to be one non-subjective criteria for preservation- age. If it survived 100 years, it “deserves” to be saved, ugly or not, because it’s a survivor. Otherwise, should we just save every ugly brutalist building in the downtown?

  • oliveskinnednica

    howard roark lives!

  • GeorgiaAve

    I can see the point of the preservationists – styles come and go, and today’s fugly may be tomorrow’s treasured style. My mom always talks about how in the 1960s it became very outdated to have any “excess decoration” on homes. People generally hated Victorian homes and many were renovated to remove porches, decorative trim, and basically anything that makes a house Victorian.

    Maybe the best solution would be to put the church on the market, take the money, and find a new location where they can build what they want. Despite the historic status and apparent limitations on altering the building, that land has to be worth millions.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s have the presevation community in DC take up a collection and pay the congregation fair market value for the property, otherwise get off their backs and let them demo the building and sell the land. I can see the value in preseving the building, but the congregation should not be saddled with it if it does not meeting thier needs as a church.

  • SG

    That, and it looks like an amputated robot

  • eric in ledroit

    is someone seriously arguing that there is a paucity of brutalism in DC?

    take the metro to the “l’enfant promenade” (whatever the hell that is). preferable on a weekend evening. walk around the completely empty streets and marvel at the hideous cement buildings. then thank your lucky stars brutalism ended.

    i mean seriously, it’s an architectural style called “brutalism.” say that out loud. it’s like naming your architectural style “hideousism”.

  • JustMe

    So though it may not revitalize the community with its functional form

    I think the fact that it is antithetical to any efforts to revitalize the community means that it is not functional.

    If it’s so important, some preservationists should hold a fundraiser to pick it up and have it moved elsewhere.

  • District Detectivist

    While historical preservation in general is laudable from an educational standpoint (and possibly aesthetic), it does not seem to out-weigh one’s claim to one’s property. Of course there are reasonable exceptions to this, but I’m not certain real estate and architecture is one of them.

    We would likely not have the dynamic architectural landscape that we do (in a very, very geographically broad sense) if we didn’t destroy at least some of what is old to replace it with a new thought, or building.

    In general, it strikes me that history is something best learned from, not necessarily lived in. We are trying to avoid the mistakes of the past, not dwell in them.

    (No, I’m not a huge fan of b

  • monroe

    Sure its not one of the ONLY brutalist style buildings in DC. There are lots of huge government office buildings in this style. But it is one of the only GOOD brutalist buildings in DC. That’s why it should be saved. I mean look at the thing! It is not “just another” building of the same style.

  • Jake

    Mr. Bennet:

    In your summary, you did not mention that the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation authorized demolition of the structure subject to a condition that the congregation build a new church on the site on May 16:


    This is highly relevant to the discussion. As is her reasoning that the Church, while a notable example of the architectural type, is a “failed experiment”; and that it would be unjust to saddle the congregation with the burden of the failed building and discourage architectural innovation in the future.

  • dcdude

    It’s simple. The congregation was able to convincingly show that keeping the building meant closing their Church, so preservationists be damned. Tear it down. Besides, there are plenty of other buildings with brutalist influences in DC (FBI, DOE, HUD, HHS, and DOL headquarters and, arguably, the Metro), so one less ugly concrete bunker will not be missed.

  • Anonymous

    Lord, it’s like a cross between a prison and a parking garage. If you’re interested in the history of horrible architecture, go take a picture. The rest of us will be happy to see it go.

  • Kay

    Keep it

  • RyanP

    As I have read through the posts I am actually quite shocked at some of the responses and I wish I had the time and patience to respond to them all, but I will only select a few. Note: All of my comments are opinion based, so nothing is meant to be taken personally.

    As for (eric in ledroit Says: i mean seriously, it

  • RyanP

    By the way … Kash makes an amazing point … “They add diversity, texture, and bright points of interest. They remind us of what is stylistically possible over time and keep current modes in perspective.” The identity of Washington DC cannot be in its New Urbanist projects, Brownstones, and Classic Revivals, but it must be in the wholistic and colorful tartan of the urban fabric.

  • EdTheRed

    Problem is, regardless of the aesthetic merits of the building, the Third Church was, well, poorly constructed. It leaks, it cracks, and it leaks some more. It simply isn’t well-built enough to stand the test of time. It’s not only too expensive for the congregation to maintain, it’s too expensive for any prospective buyer to bother maintaining. Whether it’s fugly or historic or historically fugly doesn’t really matter.

  • shy

    Sell the building for $1 to who ever will move it

  • My vote is against the ugly church, and against Brutalist buildings in general. Maybe save ONE as an example of a misguided, dead-ant, anti-humanist design movement.

    The time to invoke historic preservation was when the Brutalist buildings were first constructed, on the ruins of perfectly fine, brick pre-WWII buildings that were much more deserving of the designation than the concrete monstrosities that obliterated them.

  • Erik

    Is the “Casa del Fascio” really the best example of Brutalism? Wow…


  • RyanP


    Lets think about this. You say we should get rid of the building based on its construction. Valid point, but Fallingwater … Frank Lloyd Wrights most famous work (and probably America’s most valuable piece of architecture) leaks horribly, the floor slabs are cracking due to expansion from moisture, there is awful mold issues, and a long list of other problems. Now, lets go to Italy now to Venice. San Marco in Venice has such a bad floor due to the sinking of the pillings that the church was built on, that the pues can barely be used due to the uneven surfaces, should Italy knock it down? Granted, both of these projects may be much more respected by most people, but that doesn’t make them “more valuable” than the Chruch here in DC.

    Merit cannont be judged based on the condition of a building, or those who are inside of it. As architects we have a responsibility to maintain what is valuable to the profession.

  • UStreet

    SG-If we tear everything down then nothing will reach the 100 year benchmark that you propose. Then we would never have anything from the past. Also, by putting a specific limit on the requirements of landmarking then you could run into the problem of every property owner tearing down their 99 year old structures so as not to be bound by landmarking status.

    monroe-I would argue that the Hirshhorn is another good example of Brutalist style.

  • NiNi

    Kash is brilliant and has written an excellent, well thought out piece. If you look at his blog, you can see that he really gets architecture and isn’t only in to the “what’s hot now craze.” I hope he can design my next Rubys. He’s also hot too…you should meet him.

  • Kash

    Mr. T:

    Brutalism is profoundly humanist! That’s the whole point! Pre-modern ways of thinking were steeped in superstition, elitism, and intellectual tyranny. Tabula-rasa modernism attempted to wipe those archaic modes away and let the intrinsic value in science, invention and creativity reign free.

    That the geometry is simply might look clumsy and “brutal” to you, but these forms are actually very carefully considered by a practiced eye for sculpture.

  • ambivalent

    I might be wrong but I always thought the term brutalism came from the french for “rough concrete”- “beton brut”. I think it’s interesting how it’s interpreted as brutalism because that’s how it hits us viscerally. But I agree with Kash and RyanP on diversity and texture.
    By the way I think it’s kind of funny that RyanP points out Casa del Fascio as a great example–Mussolini, Fascism.

  • RyanP

    Fascism doesn’t mean it is bad. They killed thousands in the Colleseum in Rome. Architecture has to be judged for architectures sake, not the times it was built in.

  • mt p

    I’ve always kind of liked it, especially the open grassy/brick space in between the church and the office building.

  • ambivalent

    You’re right about that. I admit I always have a knee jerk reaction to fascism. (We won’t go into how the fascists and our democracy took classical architecture from greece and rome for our own.)

  • kateye

    To an uneducated eye this structure may seem unremarkable, but if you take a moment to study history or take time to walk through some of the cities in Europe, you may begin to realize that this building has a place in history. I believe we should preserve structures that contribute to the American cityscape and not be so quick to demolish everything in site. (Also, if the church would research benefits of having a historical building, they will find that there are grants available.)

    There are also environmental issues with quickly demolishing structures. What will happen with the material of this building if it is demolished? Isn’t it better to use what exists? I understand that the existing space may not accommodate all the needs of this church, but find a great architect that can assist in designing a great solution.

    America has a young history and I think we need to start cherishing what we have instead of throwing it away.

    Cheers to Kash!

  • Emily

    I don’t think that design can be wholly divorced from its social context. For example, the Nazi swastika is, graphically speaking, a beautiful symbol of balance and radial symmetry. But can we ever look at it like that again after it was the emblem of such a dreadful movement?

    Fortunately, fascist architecture can be renovated and re-purposed.

  • Erik

    “modernism attempted to wipe those archaic modes away and let the intrinsic value in science, invention and creativity reign free.”

    Modernism also threw out 1000’s of years of building practices that were environmentally sound, had windows that opened, roofs that were sloped, and didn’t require AC or Heat 100% the time. The 3rd church probably ripped down buildings that were built with these practices, and it didn’t even last 40 years. The other original structures would probably be standing today with a much lower cost of upkeep.

  • Robyn

    I didn’t know anything about brutalism (or how many architectually opinionated PoPers there are!), and now I do. Great post, Kash!

  • Architecture is a celebration of the conflagration of program, material, site and humans. Churches, like art, are a unique expression of emotions that, while not beyond scrutiny, are intensely personal. Each structure encapsulates a different aspect of faith. For every style of worship there is a different, if not directly comparable style of architecture and the Brutalists, for all their bluster, had a point about the timelessness of faith that deserves as much consideration for preservation as the more ornate forms of Federalist architecture or the fragile forms of many modern cultural institutions. The greenest architecture is that which preserves what is already built even if it must take on a new purpose.

  • eric in ledroit

    oh i see, we’re uneducated and unsophisticated if we don’t appreciate this hideous piece of crap enough to want to see the city force a church to go bankrupt trying to maintain it. i get it. thank god there are sophisticated people in the world who can educate us.

  • Sully

    Once this historic building is gone that is it. I.M. Pei is a visionary in my opinion. I say put money toward restoring DC’s architectural landscape. Just this weekend I went to Artomatic which is inside a half built 10 floor building that clearly can’t rent the space out or ran out of money during construction ( like most of the condos/constructs) at Nationals Park SE. All that money could gone to better use to renovate what DC has rather that to expand and bankrupt itself.

  • SG

    What’s historic about this building again? That it looks like a historic WWII bunker?

  • SG

    It’s called Brutalism for a reason- it’s maybe the worst architectual blunder in human history, and brutal to look at to boot! Please let me take a few whacks at this monstrosity with a large, heavy object.

  • Ingmar





  • Anonymous


    Public taste is in the crapper. The recent film “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was the top earner the weekend it opened.

  • Ingmar



  • eric in ledroit

    ingmar that is an awesome post. i think you win.

  • Mike K

    Finally – an intelligent discussion on this blog – really. These posts have been terrific and a great debate.

  • Dan

    Ingmar: Wow, I can’t tell if you’re joking or crazy. If you’re joking (and I hope you are), then what’s your point? If not, then I hope you don’t reply (or at least fix your CAPS LOCK button).

    Anyway, I don’t know much about architecture and less about Brutalism, but I’m torn on the issue. If it was simply an issue of keeping the building or not, I’d keep it. I do think the diversity of architectural styles adds a lot of charm to a city, even if some are not the flavor of the week (or decade, or ever again for that matter). Of the examples of brutalism mentioned in this thread (DOL, DOE, HUD, Hirshhorn, FBI, HHS), I think it’s the best (or possibly the Hirshhorn). However, I also agree that it’s somewhat unfair to saddle a church with the costs of maintaining it, unless they can get extra grants due to the historic preservation status.

  • Dave Kap


  • JustJess

    This may be one of the more intelligent conversations had on PoP but it’s pretty pointless: The decision has been made to allow the church to tear it down.

    I agree with the ruling: because they’re the property owners, because it’s a church, and because people have to have the freedom to worship in something that functions properly, doesn’t leak, and isn’t hideous.

  • @Kash:
    What I meant about the church being anti-humanist in design was not so much a philosophical statement about the origins of the design, but rather how the church fits (or rather does not fit) into the context of the urban fabric. The cold, lifeless plaza, the rough, cheaply finished, windowless walls, the drab color palette, and the jarring difference in style makes it clash with DC’s traditional historic urban streetscape. Basically, everything about it says F— You to the surrounding structures, people walking by on the street, even visitors looking for the door!

    Again, I call for the demolition of Brutalist buildings, and the re-creation of what was once in their place using old photographs, whatever it takes. And send the bill to the idiot modernist developers and architects who demolished the beautiful Army Medical Museum on the Mall and erected the Maginot Line-like Hirshorn museum in it’s place. Have you seen photographs of what was demolished to build HUD, the FBI Building, the church here, and the Hirshorn? Check out “Capital Losses” – it’s heartbreaking. THOSE buildings should have been preserved, not what replaced them. The Brutalist buildings should be destroyed even for no other reason than as payback for the loss of the earlier structures.

    To shed tears over the loss of this hideous church is no different than fighting to preserve Madison Square Garden (the current one, not the McKim, Meade & White one) while allowing Penn Station to have been demolished. I say, blow it up!

  • The building may be interesting and possibly even attractive as an abstract sculptural form. But its value appears to be solely as an architectural vanity project. It doesn’t contribute anything to the cityscape; the plaza between it and the Christian Science Monitor newspaper building is essentially a dead zone. (The same can be said for the plaza in front of that other so-called “masterpiece” of brutalism in DC — the HUD headquarters in SW Federal Ghetto.) More to the point, however, is that the testimony in the hearing before the Mayor’s Agent pretty conclusively established that the building is not well-suited to being a church — or anything else for that matter. If someone could buy the building from the church, keep the structure, and spend the money to rehabilitate it as a dance club, restaurant, or refuge for zombies, fine. But no such offers are on the table, so knock the structure down and replace it with something that is actually usable.

  • Ryno

    Personally, I don’t have feelings about brutalism one way or the other. But, I wonder if those who demand that the congregation keep the building realize that you are imposing your personal beliefs on a group that doesn’t agree with you and asking that they maintain the building at their expense. If all of the brutalism lovers in DC want to pay to maintain the building, then buy it and maintain it as a monument to that movement in architecture. But it seems arrogant and tyrannical for an individual or group of individuals to dictate to another group that they should spend money on a building that they don’t like and don’t want. The Church choose to bring the building into this world and as far as I’m concerned they can choose to take it out as well. That’s the consequence of a free society, that sometimes people might do things with their money we don’t like, i.e. modify a piece of property we like, but that they own.

  • dcdude

    While we are all impressed by the width and breadth of RyanP’s architectural knowledge, his comments, and those by Kash, do nothing to take into consideration of the people that actually own the building and have to use it from day to day. Buidlings are not paintings. They are not meant to be hung on the wall to be looked at. They are functional tools that have to serve the needs of the people inside them. Even if this building is a wonderful specimen that is “valuable to the architectural profession,” those considerations cannot trump the rights of the people that the building is meant to serve. Raze it.

  • Kash

    Mr T

    I would argue that the building does not clash with the fabric of DC, but actually meshes nicely. The angled walls and sidewalk of the plan gesture to the diagonal layout of the city street system.
    See this:

    Also, notice that the project is actually two buildings, one is the eye catching octagon, and the other is the orthogonal office building across the plaza. As you can see, this building integrates quite smoothly with the building next to it by a different architect in a different time.

    If it is the non-orthogonal shape you disagree with, how do you feel about this form when it is made out of brick and built in the style of the 19th century as is this museum in downtown Washington:

    Tell me, if we built all current buildings in the style of a pre-modern state, then exactly what era would those structures be meant for?

  • Emily

    I agree with many posters today that it seems unfair to restrict the rights of the current owners of the building. But that doesn’t make it any less fortunate that it be torn down.

    dcdude: For many people, buildings are in fact like paintings, while at the same time, they have the added bonus of housing us, giving us place to instruct and to find justice. The best option for preservation probably would be to buy it and convert it into a new use. After all, “The greenest architecture is that which preserves what is already built even if it must take on a new purpose” wmglick, above

  • RyanP

    DcDude … you said “They are functional tools that have to serve the needs of the people inside them.” This is only partially correct. Yes, buildings are built by those inside, but they are also looked at by the pedestrian in the street, hence the reason for Fine Arts Committee, which oversees all architecture built within the District. Granted there are many people here today who dislike the building, and at first glance I disliked it too. It is in the core value of the style of architecture, the educatioal, social, and aesthetic value of that style that makes the building imporatant. Once your unwrap the context of the building, the design intent, and statement in the simple geometries, then you find the beauty in it.

    Also, I hate to say it this way, but TRUE architecture is something that should be admired, just like as you put it, a painting on the wall. Each and every building in a city tell a story of the city, just like the colors on the pallate make up the painting. If it weren’t supposed to be admired and viewed at from the street, then Gehery wouldn’t make is flying structures like at Bilbao, and SHOP wouldn’t be playing with undulating surfaces on fascades. If it is functionality you want, then go back to the empty box, a warehouse form, and infill that with peus and an alter.

    The DC committee fought for the building because it is important ARCHITECTURALLY. I feel bad for the people inside of the building, and maybe you are right that they should be granted the right to raze it if they built it, but it is taking a wonderful texture away from an already architecturally faceless city.

  • RyanP

    Exaclty Emily. Sorry all for sounding like a broken record, I missed your post while I was writing.

  • dcdude

    Like I said, I will not argue the aesthetic or architectural value of the structure. I’ll grant you that it is real, though many others here would not. But what we have here is a case of competing interests. Those of the preservationists and the architectural aficionados, vs. those of the owners of the property, who have to pay to maintain it and use it from day to day. Functionality should not be the ONLY concern, but in this case, I would argue that it has to be the overriding one. Tear it down and build something that will serve the needs of the congregation while still contributing to architectural fabric of the city.

  • EdTheRed

    @RyanP: though it is difficult to measure the “importance” of buildings, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Fallingwater and San Marco are, well, more important, culturally, than the Third Church…which is why the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Catholic Church (and whoever else keeps San Marco afloat, literally) are willing to fork over the money to maintain those buildings. It would be nice if the congregation could afford to maintain their poorly-built building, but they can’t. And as sad as it may be from a preservationist standpoint to lose this particular building, it would be far, far worse to let the congregation’s lawsuit continue…because if they won (and they certainly could), all future preservation efforts of houses of worship would be completely doomed. There’s a lot more at stake than this one building.

  • Dave Kap

    (putting aside sustainability) Tearing it down to build a new one will most likely be far costlier… so if they cant get the money to refurbish it and have it suit their needs then how are they going to afford to demo and build a new one…?

    Also, see this months Arch Record feature article: “Adaptation + Preservation: Rebooting Yeterday’s Buildings for Today’s World”

  • ThomasW

    “it is an iconic piece in a respected architect

  • dcdude

    To Dave Kap:

    My understanding is that the plot is being sold to developers, who are financing the demolition and reconstruction as well as buidling a new structure for the church somewhere else in the downtown area.

  • @ Kash, again, you are looking at the philosophical/sculptural qualities of the building, and I am looking at how it fits into the neighborhood. It may be shaped to echo an abstract form on a map, but in terms of pedestrians, residents, and members of the congregation who walk past, into, or out of the building, it’s a crap experience, as anti-contextual as you can get, and not in a good way.

    Your dig at pre-war buildings as not befitting the modern state serves my point perfectly. Nice, square, durable brick buildings that face the street, have windows and doors in plenty of useful places, an awning to protect us from the elements when entering, and so on, ARE worthy of preservation because they suit us humans so well. Since WWII and the rise of crappy modern architecture, have we changed so much in our physical nature? Modern architecture has given ride to the car culture, sprawl, the destruction and de-densification of urban centers, to the detriment of the nation. The FBI Building alone blotted out over 100 small businesses in eclectic, human-scaled brick buildings, and turned a vibrant streetscape into a wasteland overnight. THe ugly church you love so much similarly deadens the frontage it squats on.

    Perhaps both of us could be satisfied if the church were moved, or replicated, in a suburban open-air museum of dead-end architectural and societal trens,like the way they moved all the Lenin and Stalin monuments to similar sites in eastern Europe. This way, the damage to the urban fabric can be undone (at least as well as we tend to do these days), and the (debatable!) sculptural qualities of the church will live on for you modern architectural hipsters to admire. 🙂

  • Dave Kap

    Classic conflict between architect/client. Design vs. Economics.

    In the end the aesthetic value as ThomasW was saying is debatable to no end. In the end who is to say what is architecturally significant or what has aesthetic value… I may think the loss of it is a shame but thats not going to change someone else’s mind (most likely). Cultural significance is not something quantified; if it was we wouldnt need preservationists to help guard valuable built elements. Obviously they see enough significance in this building to want to protect it for future appreciation.

    I will say though that the client got what they asked for, so it is hypocritical for them to be putting up such a stink about the design of it now, even if they just inherited it. They commisioned an IMPei building; the precedent was there for what they were going to get, and as the client they had ultimate say in what the final design looked like so it still lies on their shoulder. You dont go commisioning Frank Ghery and expect to get a rectilinear result…

  • eric in ledroit

    “Also, I hate to say it this way, but TRUE architecture is something that should be admired, just like as you put it, a painting on the wall. Each and every building in a city tell a story of the city, just like the colors on the pallate make up the painting. If it weren

  • ThomasW

    @Mr. T

    In referrence to sculptural qualities of the church, why did you parathensize debatable? Isn’t the concept of “contextual” also up for debate?

    Or maybe if enough people think it doesn’t fit-in then burn those books….oops, I mean demo those buildings.

  • The reason I parenthesized “debatable” when referring to the sculptural qualities of the building is because I think it’s basically a pile of crap, but others might see beauty in the form of the building. Without any regard for the functionality, materials or effect on the streetscape, if all you’ve got is the shape, well, then make a model of it, put it in a museum, and demolish the prototype so the site can be re-used. Or move it to one of those Stalinist open-air museums as I suggested!

    I think the concept of contextual is more quantifiable – you could compare what was on the site before, with plans and photos of the current building, do polling of random pedestrians walking by, study traffic patterns of visitors looking for the door, compare the materials, cornice line and setback to those of surrounding neighborhood, etc.

    Can anyone come up with a photo of what was there before the church was built? That might give a little perspective to the discussion.

  • Dave Kap

    @ Mr. T in DC:

    Maybe we should get rid of all buildings built from WW2 and beyond…

    This isnt some egyptian tomb… Comparing a brutalist style church to communist icons and monuments is on the same level as the other dude comparing DC Preservationists to the Bush administration earlier in this post… far-fetched.

    That whole argument is absurd on many levels. Calm down please. Thanks.

  • TonyS

    a tough debate, with no easy answer. it was enlightening to read the comments of almost all the POP’ers who have a surprising amount of architectural knowledge… despite the few bigoted intolerant comments of a few bad apples.

    i understand that the church plans to essentially sell the site to a developer who will build offices and a smaller church on the plot.

  • “Maybe we should get rid of all buildings built from WW2 and beyond

  • Eric H.

    @Thomas W:

    “I wish people wouldn

  • Found it! Here’s a photo of what was on the site before the church was built, courtesy of Greater Greater Washington (a wonderful website, btw):


  • ThomasW

    @Eric H

    I have to say that “Aesthetic value is meaningless…Build unadorned cubes” is way too black and white. I’m just arguing for more thought in the design / preservation process then just “I don’t like how it looks”.

    Given that the Modernist movement had much more to do with geo-politics, technology and cultural revolution then this tiny little presveration debate, it’s a stretch to make the comparison.

    Besides, with the sad state the planet’s in today – It’s a wonder why are all still arguing about the archaic concept of “architectural style” anyway. We should be more concerned with making the most out of what we have left…. (far left, hehe)

  • sheree

    i think the building is pretty. and historically important. and should be kept.

  • Neener

    gadlfy post.

  • Emily Jones

    If it is indeed not a major/important/rare example of a type of architecture, I vote for demolishing the building; it is an eyesore and not maintained very well.

    This is an interesting case study in government intervention into individual freedom (of the congregation to tear down the church). I’m all for the gov’t protecting historic and important buildings, but I can’t speak to whether there is some overreaching here–are too may buildings preserved in this way?

  • Anonymous

    what is a gadfly post?

  • thanks emily. daps

  • jz

    The congregation who commissioned it should be able to knock it down… that makes sense. But there isn’t a more interesting building anywhere downtown! I remember the first time i saw it and i can’t say that for any other downtown building.

  • Anonymous

    A gadfly is one of a different opinion or a dissenting one, this is not the worst brutalist work in town, walk up and down K Street and there are numerous eyesores of recent decades, as well as the FBI Building.

  • blindsnake

    A new building is better then an old church

  • MrB

    The decision on this building to tear it down was artfully written to avoid the 1st Amendment issues. Continuing to fight for this building would be very dumb. If the preservationists continue their appeals, you can bet the church will fight and win on 1st Amendment grounds.

    If that happens, it’s game over. No church will ever be able to be brought under any review ever again. Choose your battles carefully. This ugly building isn’t worth it.

    This ugly building could make it so that you can’t save the National Cathedral, even if you wanted to. Let this one go.


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