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Fourth Reformed Church, Philadelphia, PA

August 26, 2016

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Fourth Reformed Church in the Manayunk/Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia was another accidental find. Exploring its history is still under way, but in the meantime I want to share it physical form, if not its narrative. From the air, Fourth Reformed is messy, the result of  several additions and subtractions through a long existence; it has endured much. Currently the church is being adaptively reused as a residence—at least the Sunday School portion. What will become of the auditorium I can’t say.

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You can see why the sanctuary might be a hard sell to any but the adventurous. That hole in the roof is an easy enough fix, but what to do then with all that volume, thousands of cubic feet to occupy, if only intellectually. The Akron Plan Sunday School was another matter entirely:

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These “before” photos represent a space that takes less imagination to inhabit. The adaptive use may have sacrificed some of the original Akron configuration, but that is small price for the survival of a really fine example that can yet be interpreted as a pice of architectural history.

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