First Christian Church
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Architect Eliel Saarinen
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Location Columbus, Indiana   map
Date 1940 to 1942   timeline
Building Type church
 Construction System brick bearing masonry with limestone and concrete
Climate temperate
Context suburban
Style Modern
Notes "Church in Columbus", "Tabernacle Church of Christ". Finely composed rectangular massings with a tall brick tower.






More images available on The GBC CD-ROM.   Contributions appreciated

Discussion First Christian Church Commentary

"The European-born father-and-son team of Eliel Saarinen and Eero Saarinen contributed some of the finest mid-century examples of religious architecture, starting with their First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana (1942).

"The building complex is a series of simple rectangular blocks laid in composition around a central courtyard, originally planned as a reflecting pond. The church plan, vaguely reminiscent of a classical basilica, is a simple asymmetric rectangle.

"Within the sanctuary, the focus is intentionally blurred, although the eye is inevitably drawn to the cross hung on the rear wall. Natural light is admitted from vertical slotted windows along one side wall, creating an interesting rhythmic pattern to counterbalance the colonnade along the opposite side."

— Douglas R. Hoffman, "From Maybeck To Megachurches", ArchitectureWeek No. 61, 2001.0808, pC1.2.

Sources on First Christian Church

"From Maybeck to Megachurches", by Douglas R. Hoffman, ArchitectureWeek No. 61, 2001.0808, p1.

Albert Christ-Janer. Eliel Saarinen. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1948. NA737.S3C5. drawing of sunken terrace plan, p86. interior photo of pulpit, f125, p90. exterior photo from across street, f121, p87.

Kevin Matthews. Slides in photographer's collection, available through Artifice Images.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about First Christian Church


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