NATIONAL BRIEFING / WASHINGTON, D.C.
A historic downtown Washington church that more closely resembles a concrete bunker than a house of worship can be demolished because the “brutalist” structure’s upkeep is so expensive it would eventually bankrupt the congregation, a city official has ruled.
Members of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, have spent months in federal court fighting for a permit to raze the boxy Modernist church they say is unwelcoming and impractical because of its huge concrete faces, sharp angles and few windows. But preservationists say the church embodies the 1950s and ‘60s architectural style and should remain intact.
In a decision filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, D.C. planning director Harriet Tregoning said that despite the building’s designation as a historic landmark, church leaders should be allowed to replace it.