50 years later

50 years later
famous interior designer

Image by NCinDC
The top photo was taken in 1959 by the Historic American Buildings Survey (via the Library of Congress). The bottom photo was taken in 2009 by yours truly. (originally uploaded to Wikimedia Commons) Click here to view a larger size.


This is the northwest corner of 16th and I Streets NW in downtown Washington, D.C. The building in the top photo was the former home of Supreme Court Justice Horace Gray. It was built in 1887 and demolished the same year the photo was taken. The building in the bottom photo is the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, founded in 1918. The current brutalist style church building was erected in 1971 to the designs of architect Araldo Cossutta (of I.M. Pei & Partners). Following years (and years) of legal battles between the congregation and historic preservationists, and even though the building was listed on the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites in 2007, the church and office building on the right will be demolished. Here’s a slideshow of the building that will replace it.

Via the D.C. Historic Preservation Office:
"The modernist church, office building, and plaza built from 1968 to 1971 are notable as works of the office of I.M. Pei and Partners and principal designer Araldo Cossutta. A European-trained protégé of the famous Swiss architect LeCorbusier, Cossutta was a visionary architect interested in exploring the possibilities of architectural concrete as an expressive and technologically innovative medium. This complex was among the last in the firm's progression of experimental concrete structures in Denver, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, and was directly inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's concrete Unity Temple of 1905-06. As in these earlier structures, the Christian Science buildings employ concrete as an integral material that unifies structure with both interior and exterior finish. The church is bold and uncompromising in its geometric forms, set off by the brick plaza and broad ribbons of glass on the office facade. Also notable are the effects of natural light in elegant, unobstructed interior spaces separated from outside distractions."

Tags:later, years


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