Rebuilding church 40 years after fire

Washington (DC) church plans to rebuild its sanctuary 40 years after a fire destroyed it:

Church Street church could rise from 1970 ashes

by David Alpert in “GreaterGreaterWashington”

The St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 18th and Church Streets, NW hopes to build a new church on its property, which was destroyed by arson in 1970. The property is currently a park.

The church was burned on August 24, 1970 and, according to a presentation from St. Thomas, the shell later ordered razed.

After the fire, St. Thomas’s attendance declined by half. But the remaining members kept the congregation alive, and especially with their openness to gays and lesbians, grew substantially in the 1990s. In 2005, the growing congregation began exploring the possibility of rebuilding the church.

In 2008, they selected parishioner and Swiss-educated architect Matthew Jarvis. Jarvis studied under Swiss architect Peter Zumthor before moving here and working for David Jameson Architects, where he worked on many glassy and rectangular buildings.

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Category : The Lead

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  1. Paul Woodrum

    Glassy, but perhaps square or circular rather than retangular, would sound promising.

  2. Dä'ved Äyan

    Seems the majority of those commenting at the link hate it.

  3. Paul Woodrum

    Mayhaps they still yearn for Gothic revival and the Victorian heyday of Anglicanism. The building with the most awesomely religious feeling I’ve entered in years is the great glass box housing the Hayden Planetarium at NY’s American Museum of Natural History.

    What we need are more buildings that open us up to God’s world rather than somber walls behind which to hide from it.

  4. Chrisguy

    The University Church I go to was built in the early 60’s and looks very much like this, and honestly, unless it had a sign outside saying so, no one would know it’s even a church, (I mean half the students walking by still don’t know until told!) and even those that go inside think it was a classroom building that was gutted and then had an altar stuck in it. Growing up in a church in the round, and then going to here, I gotta tell you I just want to go to a church that looks, “churchy” and one of the first things the student vestry would do if we had the money is tear down the, “gaint concrete box” and make a actual “Church” looking church.

    Chrisguy -please sign your name next time –ed.

  5. Architect

    I must confess, I am not interested in persuading or dissuading opinions, but I would urge restraint in rushing to judgments. Not for my sake, but for one’s own. There is no need to christen a thing worthy of praise or loathing before it itself is presented to be. And that time is not yet now. I will argue for allowing for the possible… You may be surprised. -Matt Jarvis

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