Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cool Churches: Volume 1

This state has some seriously cool religious architecture. Today's Cool Church is in the eastern reaches of St. Paul. I've never seen it up close, only as I'm returning from visiting my folks in Washington County, along I-94.

The present-day version of Grace Lutheran Church was constructed in 1959 along Old Hudson Road. As the Church history reads:
Designed by Ray Gauger and Associates, it was to be a unique structure, contemporary Gothic, like only two others in the world, the Paris UNESCO building and Saint John's Chapel in Collegeville, Minnesota. There would be no interior columns in the half-million dollar building. Symbolism of the Story of Salvation would be portrayed in the unique windows of colored glass, one-inch thick and chipped on the edges to refract light, set in special concrete. On Palm Sunday, April 15, 1962, worship was offered in the new sanctuary.
What I love is the combination of the modern aesthetic of smooth concrete that frames the sanctuary, inlaid with traditional stained glass. The steeple/bell tower is also a totally unexpected delight too--with its unique shape and slant.

And I wouldn't be me, if I didn't also point out that I love the font (see top picture.) I'm not usually a big serif fan either, but it totally works here!

images: from the Grace Lutheran Church website.

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