Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Architecture of Religion: Redeemer Lutheran Church

The Redeemer Lutheran Church sits on a busy strip of Granville Street, nestled into its mature Shaughnessy environs.

It was designed in 1959 by Thompson Berwick & Pratt and shortlisted for the 1961 round of Massey Medals.

It's part of a group of buildings in Vancouver–St. John's, Shaugnessy Heights United, Granville Chapel and Unitarianthat reflected a renewed mid-century interest in religious architecture.

They highlight a shared concern between modernist architects and religious orders in harnessing light, though with admittedly different connotations.

Exterior from Granville Street

Front entrance

There is an optimism and clarity to these buildings that sets them apart from more traditional religious architecture. The Redeemer Lutheran in particular is a straightforward, cost-conscious design that draws on prevailing architectural trends of the 1950's.

Side entrance

A classic A-frame form, supported by concrete buttresses, splays out on the sides with flat-roofed areas for offices, entrances and meeting rooms. A secondary building is connected by a covered breezeway.

Central skylight

Main chapel

A central skylight running the length of the spine of the chapel admits a diffused light down onto pews and the altar.

Decoration is kept to a minimum and windows at the sides of the chapel are unadorned. Wood is used generously on the interior and contributes to a natural and muted color palette.

The church remains largely as designed and continues to serve its congregation after fifty years.


Stacy said...

We were recently in the Unitarian Church for a memorial service and were impressed by how bright, beautiful and tasteful it was.

in dream city said...

Thanks for this awesome post - will have to go there ASAP!

CM McLellan said...

The Unitarian is a lovely space. I was there recently during the day and noticed that no lights were needed due to the daylight coming in.

Glad you enjoyed the post on Redeemer Lutheran!