Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Draped for Demolition

According to a recent New York Times article, Our Lady of Loreto Church in Brownsville, New York stands "draped for demolition." Shrouded in black steel netting, the church is ready for demolition. Like an innocent convict awaiting the electric chair, it's spiritual family fights to save it's life. To prove it's continued value to society it which it stands.

Maybe it's my age. Maybe it's the age I live in. Never have I been so aware of the transient nature of things. Never have I seen the loss of things that were supposed to be considered "permanent".

I have been on a architectural history kick lately, immersing myself in books like Tilt, the history of the construction of the Leaning Tower in Pisa, Italy; Basilica, the history of the construction of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy; Brunelleschi's Dome, the history of the construction of the dome on Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy. The amazing thing about reading about these buildings is that I can still EXPERIENCE them. I can re-connect with the past.

As John Ruskin put it ...

"Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for a present delight, nor for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendents will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, 'See!, this our fathers did for us.'"

This is why we fight so hard when our churches are being torn down.

I've asked this question before on this blog ... what happens to us as a society when the what intended to "last forever" doesn't?

Our Lady of Loreto Church | 124 Sackman Street | Brooklyn, NY 11233

PHOTO: Fred R. Conrad, The New York Times

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 23, 2010

In life, you never forget some days. On March 23, 2010, Cleveland, Ohio took a blow to its ecclesiastical architectural heritage.

Struck by lighting, within minutes, The Euclid Avenue Congregational Church went up in a blaze. Within a couple of days, it will be a memory ... as it being completely demolished.

Dedicated in December 1887, the church was built from Ohio sandstone in the Romanesque style. To it's (former) left, across a parking lot, stands it's ecclesiastical neighbor — East Mount Zion Baptist Church. Between the two structures, East Mount Zion gets most of the architectural attention. Euclid Avenue Congregational's beauty was restrained. You really had to study it see just how deceptively beautiful it truly was. The church was solid, well-proportioned and elegantly designed.

My condolences to the congregation of The Euclid Avenue Congregational Church on the loss of their spiritual home.

PHOTOS: left: Cleveland Memory Project; right: John Kuntz, The Cleveland Plain Dealer