The saints of the DC Historic Preservation Review Board have designated the 36-year-old Third Church of Christ, Scientist a Historic Landmark against the wishes of the congregation, the Mayor’s Office, and anyone with at least minimal eyesight who passes 900 16th St. NW, two blocks from the White House.
The building is crumbling, not insulated, cold, damp, dark, just the thing a modern Christian congregation of 40 people needs. The Church doesn’t want it. The neighbors don’t want it. A developer wants to give the congregation much needed funding for the site.
The Historic Preservation Review Board has unanimously found this heap to be an architecturally significant example of the beloved “Brutalist” style.
What is “Brutalism“? The name is from the French béton brut, “raw concrete.”
Look around. There are dozens of 1960s and 1970s raw concrete buildings around Washington: the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the HUD Building, acres of buildings at the University of the District of Columbia, the entire Metro System.
The DC Historic Preservation Review Board thinks the city – and a shrinking congregation — needs to keep this hunk of cold concrete anyway.
Personally, the Church building looks okay to me. I just think it should have some barbed wire and turret guns stuck on it and be relocated to the Maginot Line.