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First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berkeley, CA

February 10, 2017

I still believe that one thing remains true: exceptionally few A-A churches were designed by architects whose names register on the Richter scale of historical significance. One of those rare exceptions is First Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley, California, a 1910 building by renowned Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck. It isn’t a stretch to claim him for the project, though his uses of A-A components puts this building in the F-1 category. Witness the plan:


The sanctuary-auditorium is the squarish room on the left; the Sunday school the rectangle in the upper right. There is a central assembly space for the “opening exercise” and multiple small break-out spaces on both sides. Though these don’t form either a quarter or half circle, I’m still inclined to call this Type 1, despite their “saddlebag” tendency.


Maybeck’s scheme is a tour de force in blending multiple architectural styles: Byzantine, Gothic, Arts & Crafts.

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