Community Christian Church

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peterm
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Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Community Christian Church

Post by peterm »

We just returned from Kansas City. Here are some images of the Community Christian Church from 1942. Nowhere was it posted that it is a Frank Lloyd Wright design. There are certainly elements and fragments of the original design, but things clearly went in other directions. Maybe some here know how this all came about?

Even the furniture and fireplaces were coated with gunnite...

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SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Well, it's a monomaterial exercise, for one thing. I think the idea was taken a bit too far, in the case of that table with a chunk out of it -- at least, as executed ?

Curtis Besinger tells the tale. Do you have his book, Peter ?

S

peterm
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Unfortunately, I don't.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

The original budget for the church was $100,000. Wright said," Why, that's only enough to build a tent ! That's what we'll do; we'll build a concrete tent."

No one would bid on the project, even though there was plenty of steel work going on in KC (even in wartime, this was just before steel rationing went into effect). Then the city wouldn't issue a permit. Wright's crushed-rock foundations met resistance; Wright claimed that if a standard concrete foundation system was used, he wouldn't be responsible for any cracks or the like that might develop. The city required extra testing of some uncommon steel construction details.

The floor heating system failed to keep those attending the dedication ceremony warm, on the coldest day of winter; the pumps had been installed backwards. The congregation liked their new building; the city has accepted it. Mr Wright did not accept it, and never used illustrations of it. The congregation is proud to have a Wright building -- or was in 1995, when Besinger published his book. Besinger says, "It stands as an aborted curiosity."

SDR

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

This is the first time I've gotten a good look at the building. I like the array of seating, including the balcony.I appreciate having the tour . . .

Is that colored glass, in the last photo ? I wonder where that appears, in the interior.

SDR
Last edited by SDR on Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

Did not know this history.
Explains it.
These pics are the closest I've been.

peterm
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Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Seating- it was originally folding chairs. The congregation later purchased (or was given) Art Deco era cinema seating, which is what we see now.

The colored glass appears in the small chapel at the ground level right side of the building. I could only peek in a window to see it. It seems like it is "blacked out" from the exterior with some sort of paint...

The church is sited beautifully though it has little light from the exterior. Something went horribly wrong with the light...

#3 shows the original doors and windows, #5, replacements.

jmcnally
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Post by jmcnally »

it reminds me of that unfortunate incident where a swimming pool mated with the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

While looking for the plan, I found (bottom of page): http://www.bobybarra.com/blog/



Image

Plan © 1993 by William Allin Storrer

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

The white paint is all over the map, in the photos; sometimes snowy, or pale gray, sometimes cream. In Peter's first shot, the long view, the building appears to be the light sand that I expect the Guggenheim eventually to take on, once again.

Do I see a spot of early- or late-day pink ? At what hour was that photo taken ?

SDR

DRN
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Post by DRN »

Many thanks for the pics peterm! Like others, this is the most that I have seen of this building.
I recall reading Wright intended there to be a large patterned skylight above the chancel, with spot lights illuminating the night sky. The skylight was blacked out to address WW2 air raid concerns and never opened. I believe I remember seeing a night photo with roof mounted lights shining into the sky.

JChoate
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Contact:

Post by JChoate »

They were a little too generous with the gunite cannon.
Those theater seats look a lot like the ones that used to be in the Pfeiffer Chapel before they recently replaced them. Here's what they looked like:
http://c8.alamy.com/comp/DKGNHG/interio ... DKGNHG.jpg
Perhaps they were from the same vendor.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

I can't seem to find an image, but this theater seat, with a curved cast metal stanchion (often decorated with a finely-corrugated texture) was a staple of movie and other theaters, at one time. This photo shows the stamped-steel back panel, also memorable, with its curved decoration:

http://www.findingmrwright.com/wp-conte ... sc_ap6.jpg

The curve of the stanchion at Annie Pfeiffer is a bit more extreme than on the more commonly-seen example I remember.

SDR

outside in
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Post by outside in »

I finally have seen a Wright project where I can truthfully say "plant vines", and in this case, EVERYWHERE.

SDR
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Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

. . . making it Wright's first truly "green" building . . . ?

Note that the pencil rendering doesn't show vertical supports to the balcony roofs; to his credit the architect doesn't paint them black.

The chancel attempts, in the built version anyway, to create a "cube of light" somewhat at odds with the floor plan; note that there is a (more or less) continuous skylight outlining the square of ceiling above.

SDR

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