jueves, 7 de junio de 2012

first united methodist church

address: 400 biscayne boulevard, miami, united states
architects: walter baggesen and sons
date: 1980

The current church was born of the merger, in 1966, of two Downtown congregations, Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church and White Temple Methodist Episcopal Church. The combined church bucked contemporary trends and chose to locate Downtown, taking a prominent site on Biscayne Boulevard at the north end of Downtown´s assamblage of bayfront towers.

Designed as a religious and community center in the heart of a comercial district, the main elements of the church -worship, school, music, library, social, and administration areas- pivot around a central patio. The main entrance from Biscayne Boulevard is through the patio, and mementos of both old churches are arranged there, including cornerstones, the cross that stood atop White Temple, and stained-glass windows from Trinity.

Along Biscayne Boulevard, the low-slung body of the ancillary spaces, accentuated by a long ribbon window, is punctuated on its south side by the sanctuary and a tower. The trapezoidal shape of the sanctuary structure betrays the formal predilections of postwar Modernists. Its Modernist spire, a four-way illuminated cross, is made of intersecting concrete fins, and supports a suspended electronic carrillon simulating a chorus of thirty-nine bells. Its sanctuary features stained-glass windows brought from the earlier churches. The whole seems designed to be viewed from the car, an exception to the monumental scale of adjacent residential and commercial buildings.

Allan T. Shulman, Randall C. Robinson Jr., James F. Donnelly

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