I am in Minneapolis/St. Paul for two days of meetings on saving Modernist and Recent Past places. Minnesota and the Great Lakes region has a strong collection of buildings and landscapes from the Modernist period, so we’re in town to work with and learn from our local partners.
Last evening’s opening session was held in a beautiful space: the Eliel Saarinen designed Christ Church Lutheran sanctuary. His son Eero designed the adjoining educational wing. This supreme example of the Modernist movement is Minnesota’s only National Historic Landmark listed for its architectural importance rather than as a site of historic significance.
The church – now working with a newly formed Friends of Christ Church Lutheran group – has done a wonderful job of preservation and stewardship of this place. I spent a great deal of time last evening with Pastor Kristine Carlson, who opened with a moving testimony as to why this place matters. As I said in my opening remarks, preservation generally happens when people – not necessarily professional preservationists – see the connection between place and life. No where is the connection between place, mission, and spirit more real than at Christ Church Lutheran.
I didn’t have my camera with me, but that’s okay, because the church’s website has a wonderful album of photographs by Pete Sieger. I recommend you visit the site and just enjoy his wonderful take on this special place. And if you are lucky enough to visit the church, make sure you see Sieger’s collection of photos taken of the altar every ten minutes from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. It is a treasure trove of the interplay of light and space.
More to come…