Christian Science Church Center


Many have been watching for the steel frame of the new 26-story Administration Building to go up. But there will be no steel frame. From bottom to top, from inside out, this high-rise office building in the new Church Center will be architectural concrete, cast in place floor by floor. Concrete will be the main material used in the new Colonnade Building and in the Sunday School Building as well.

To most of us, concrete is a mundane material for patios, sidewalks, and highways. Araldo Cossutta of I. M. Pei and Associates, the architect in charge of the Church Center project, calls concrete a humble material. But he also says that it is infinitely versatile and eloquent. Much of the architectural drama of the Church Center will lie in the advanced and inspired use of this humbly eloquent material. The Administration Building especially will embody ideas and practices that have made Pei's firm a pioneer in the use of architectural, or exposed, concrete.

Out of the story of I. M. Pei's progressive use of concrete in modern architecture emerges a trio of main concerns. The first has been aesthetics, the molding of mass and the enclosing of space to create unified buildings that pleasantly and efficiently serve the needs of people. A second concern has been the harmonious integration of a building's mechanical systems, such as lighting, ventilation, and telephones, into the very logic of the structure of the building itself. A knowledge of the technology of building materials, especially of cast-in-place concrete of the desired color, finish, and durability, constitutes the final essential element.

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August 9, 1969

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