Monthly Archives: February 2014
|Tea Party Patriot President Jenny Beth Martin at 5th Anniversary event [photo: BD Matt]|
|Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN 6th) thanks Tea Party Patriots at 5th Anniversary event|
|True the Vote’ Founder Catherine Engelbrecht tells the Tea Party Patriots how her good governance efforts
to better ensure non fraudulent voting resulted into government harassment [photo credit: BD Matt]
| Talk Radio host and author Mark Levin inspires the Tea Party Patriots with stories about the
Founding Fathers and Ronald Reagan at the TPP 5th Anniversary event [photo: BD Matt]
|Rep. Steve King (R-IA 4th) lets loose against alleged Obama Administration abuses at the Tea Party
Patriots 5th Anniversary event [photo: BD Matt]
|Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) shows his Senate photo ID at the TPP 5th Anniversary [photo: BD Matt]|
|Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX 1st) speaks at the Tea Party Patriots 5th Anniversary event [photo: BD Matt]|
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) recounts egregious examples of government waste at the Tea Party
Patriots 5th Anniversary event [photo: BD Matt]
|Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) energizes the Tea Party Patriots 5th Anniversary event [photo: BD Matt]|
One of the world’s ugliest church structures was the Third Church of Christ, Scientist in Washington, DC, just blocks away from the White House. This octagonal shaped building was designed by Araldo Cossetta, an associate of I.M. Pei, in a brutalist architectural style and was completed in 1971.
Academics often voiced approval of Modernist Architecture like brutalism. Randall Ott, the dean of architectural design at Catholic University, waxed philosophically: “Modernism was a fairly austere, fairly confrontational style, and the Third Church is an obvious example of that style.” But outside of academia, there usually are not warm feelings about austere and confrontational buildings.
La Verne Hill, a woman who worked nearby the brutalist behemoth, opined: “It’s awful. It looks like they just dumped a bunch of concrete down here and shaped it into a box.” Church members had long long disliked the design of the building. Longtime church member Darrow Kirkpatrick articulated: We think it says, ‘Stay away.’ Something goes on in here that they don’t want to get outside, which is exactly wrong for all Christianity. We don’t think the architecture conveys taking the Word to the people… Brutalism is not our religious expression.”
Membership in the Third Church of Christ, Scientist dropped to 50 members. But the congregation was stuck with an ugly architectural white elephant. The brutalist building was not well suited for re-purposing. It was a 60 foot tall concrete bunker that was hard to heat and harder to cool. There were structural defects in many spots. And in order to change lightbulbs, a scaffolding needed to be erected in the sanctuary which would cost betweeen $5,000 to $8,000. These were costs which the congregation neither had the funds nor the inclination to pay.
Yet in 2007, the DC Historical Preservation Board unanimously voted the Third Church of Christ, Scientist as a Historical Landmark, thereby protecting it from demolition or alteration. This had the fascinating dynamic of having the government tell a religious group where to worship and how to spend their funds.
Due to the shepherding of former Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Planning Director Harriet Tregoning, the zealotry of the Historical Planners was overturned. Tregoning ruled that Cosetta design was an experiment which failed badly. The city approved of razing the building in May, 2009 citing hardship of maintaining the building and the risk of the demise of the church if the Historical Landmark status continued.
Yet it took until February, 2014 for the District to issue a permit to raze the building. Little time was lost by Celtic Demolition to start to take down the structure. And there was much rejoicing among ordinary District denizens.
William Newton, who writes the Blog of the Courier, put it poetically:
The more you are able to study and look at exactly why such hideous
things as the Third Church of Christ Scientist came to be, the more you
will realize why your gut reaction to their readily apparent ugliness is
correct, because these buildings often reflect a wider, even uglier
philosophy about human nature and man’s place in the universe. Without
knowing exactly why, you can cheer the demolition of this terrible
But it will take up to eight weeks to totally demolish the edifice, as the lower walls are six foot think walls of concrete. The demolished scraps will be sent for recycling.
For any fans of brutalist architecture in the District of Calamity, they can still admire the F.B.I. Building, the H.U.D. Building, the Department of Energy’s Forrestal Building and the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art.
The property where the brutalist building once stood is slated to become another glass and metal shoebox office building, but it will have an economical space where the congregation can worship.
Aside from aesthetic issues, the battle over the brutalist bunker also brings to a forefront salient issues on religious liberty. Perhaps the eventual triumph of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist over a government dictating how religious institutions must act might serve as a framework for future judicial decision regarding the H.H.S. Qualified Health Plan (Contraception Mandate) issue.
If Biden wants to step up his game and take on POTUS, he ought to remember Charles Barkley’s analysis of Obama’s game. Barkley spoke with President Obama prior to the NBA All Star Game. In conjunction with the soft ball Oval Office interview, Barkley observed that Obama always goes to the left on the court. So that’s not just Obama’s modus operandi in the political field.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, a.k.a. “The Metrodome”, “Mall of America Field”, “The Thunderdome” and “The Homerdome”, is no more. The domed stadium which was opened in 1982 was designed with football’s Minnesota Vikings, but which also was the home of baseball’s Minnesota Twins from 1982-2009 before they moved to Target Field. The Vikings will play at outdoors the TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota until the $975 million Viking Stadium is completed, which is projected to be in 2016.
Demolition began the day after the Viking’s last home game against the Detroit Lions on December 29, 2014, as seats were sold as souvenir.
The air supported dome was deflated on January 18th, 2014.
At least this deflation was intentional, unlike the five times the dome had previously collapsed due to snow.
What architectural aficiandos and pyrotechnic fans look forward to is the demolition phase. The steel support cables on the roof were severed on February 2nd. But when demolition crews were taking down the steel beam support rings, some of them collapsed out of sequence. After a week-long investigation, it was decided that using controlled explosives was the best way to proceed. So on the morning of February 23, 2014 84 explosive charges felled the facility.
And so another dome bites the dust.