Friday, December 07, 2007

DC Government to Preserve Blight

The Macaca Post reports:

The District government conferred landmark status on a 36-year-old downtown church today despite impassioned opposition from congregants and community leaders who dismiss the building as an architectural blight.

The Historic Preservation Review Board's 7-0 ruling bars the Third Church of Christ Scientist from redeveloping their fortress-like sanctuary on 16th Street NW, two blocks north of the White House.

While several preservation board members expressed reservations about the church's modernist appearance, they said the building is among the city's most significant examples of Brutalism, an architectural movement of the 1950's and 1960's that espoused the use of roughly cast concrete.


"Preservation isn't always about whether we like and not like buildings," board member Denise Johnson told the audience at the hearing before voting. "You can learn enough to have an appreciation for it."

So if I have some moldy food in my refrigerator, but only one container, I should preserve it too?

Congregants said they were unsure whether they would appeal the ruling to preserve their home, an octagonal concrete structure, with high, windowless walls, standing on a spare, unadorned plaza.

But they also said that it may be too costly to repair a 400-seat sanctuary that's no longer suitable for a church that typically draws 40-60 Sunday worshipers.

If the District government finds this eyesore so valuable, it should be purchased outright, not regulated into uselessness.

Click here for a photo.

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