Church Street church could rise from 1970 ashes
The St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 18th and Church Streets, NW hopes to build a new church on its property, which was destroyed by arson in 1970. The property is currently a park.
Photos of the original church. From St. Thomas.
The church was burned on August 24, 1970 and, according to a presentation from St. Thomas, the shell later ordered razed.
Left: The church after the arson. Photo from St. Thomas.
Right: The property today. Photo by joseph a on Flickr.
After the fire, St. Thomas's attendance declined by half. But the remaining members kept the congregation alive, and especially with their openness to gays and lesbians, grew substantially in the 1990s. In 2005, the growing congregation began exploring the possibility of rebuilding the church.
In 2008, they selected parishioner and Swiss-educated architect Matthew Jarvis. Jarvis studied under Swiss architect Peter Zumthor before moving here and working for David Jameson Architects, where he worked on many glassy and rectangular buildings.
Tonight, St. Thomas will present a design for a new church to the community at the Dupont Circle ANC meeting.
Images from St. Thomas.
The design of the building embddies the vision of St. Thomas over many decades. It is a jewel box, in the sense that it is a place to keep things safe. We will express this idea in its truest sense: by a wall that wraps around you; by a strong roof that covers you; by a large glass window that, like a tent opening, says, "this is shelter." It is a place to come in out of the rain.I live very near this place, and therefore I'm going to withhold any aesthetic opinions until I hear from you. While the park is a nice amenity, it's not public property. The congregation once had a church on this site, and they should be able to have one again. What about the design? What do you think?
After you answer the poll, share in the comments what in particular you like/dislike about the design. I'll pass the feedback on to the architect at the ANC meeting tonight.
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