30 in 30: #9

This massive church is located in a strange area between the suburban, automobile landscape of Northern Boulevard and the planned community of Sunnyside Gardens. The LIRR passes alongside the church and 37th Avenue, adding to the feeling that the church doesn't really belong to any place, any neighborhood. The strong perimeter fencing also creates a feeling of control and exclusion.

Over the Wall

The architecture at first glance appears equally confused and at odds with its context. Designed by Greg Lynn, Doug Garofalo, and Michael McInturf in an experimental manner where the avant-garde, computer-driven trio worked remotely from each other, exchanging drawings and such, the final project exhibits a mish-mash of ideas. Aside from the context and design strategy, the fact that the architects were faced with renovating a nearly 100,000 sf former laundry factory and creating a 50,000 sf addition on a limited budget added to this apparent chaos.


The plan is basically split into three areas: a large congregation space fronted by the large wall of translucent panels and the church's entry, the art-deco front on 37th Avenue now containing classrooms and other small spaces , and a series of metal-clad shells concealing the exit stairs required for the large, 2,500-seat sanctuary. All is surrounded by acres of parking, some at the level of the entry, some one-story below grade on the building's north side.

Shell montage #2

It's the building's north side and its series of angular, metal scallops that gives the church its most striking feature, even though this facade is the most removed from the entry, the road, and the railway. It's also ironic that so much effort was expended on a feature that's rarely used, as these pieces cover the exit stairs from the sanctuary. But perhaps that's the point; that the design needed some sort of POW or hidden surprise that couldn't find its way into the art deco piece (out of respect) or the main sanctuary (though these scallops resemble that space's ceiling).

Wood shells

The buildings is located at 42-23 37th Avenue in Sunnyside, Queens. Take the 7 train to 40 Street/Queens Boulevard; R to 36 Street/Northern Boulevard.

#1 - Church of the Crucifixion
#2 - 40 Mercer Residences
#3 - Dichroic Light Field
#4 - Juan Valdez Flagship
#5 - IAC/InterActiveCorp
#6 - South Court of NYPL
#7 - Louis Vuitton Store
#8 - Ironworkers Local 580


  1. That is fierce, I want to see it in person.

  2. Hi,

    I have question. Do you know the name of the huge earthwork project that is going on in downtown Seattle that include a park and museum?


  3. i visited this while it was under construction and Greg Pasquarelli (the project architect working under G. Lynn) gave me tour of it. funny that in the end, the idea of 3 people communicating remotely about the design didnt preclude that in the end someone competent needs to be on site to follow it through. no wonder SHoP is the real success story from this experimental project
    btw, the 30 nyc bldgs feature is a great idea / resource!!


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