Sunday, December 31, 2006

30 in 30: #1

With thirty days until my next semester of classes start, I've decided to take the opportunity to document my exploration of New York City over that month with thirty buildings or places of interest. We start with a church near City College that I've always want to see but haven't done during the past semester when venturing to school or leaving to go home.

Church of the Crucifixion

The Church of the Crucifixion is located on the corner of 149th Street and Convent Avenue in Hamilton Heights. It was completed in 1967 and was designed by Costas Machlouzarides, "the architect of the audacious," according to the New York Times, who was born in Cyprus in 1928, graduated from Columbia University in 1953, and does very little architecture these days.

Church of the Crucifixion

With its floating roof and curving exterior walls, the church is a strange melding of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp (the AIA Guide to NYC calls it "a hallucinogenic version of ... Ronchamp) and an American grain elevator. The first thing that struck me was its relatively small size; I was expecting something much bigger given the late-Modernist formal vocabulary. What seems like a building that would occupy a full block and be visible from all sides actually sits on a small corner lot, addressing its context mainly via the piercing cross and adjacent narrow window. Nevertheless it's a strong presence in an area becoming more and more popular for its stock of brownstones, some more recognizable than others.

Directions:
Take A, B, C or D (if going uptown use a car near the front; downtown near the back) to West 145th Street station. Exit on St. Nicholas Avenue, between 147th and 148th Street, walk to 149th Street and then one block to Convent Avenue.

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