Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Phoenix Flies Recap #6 - First Church of Christ, Scientist, Atlanta

On March 8, we toured the First Church of Christ, Scientist (1914 by Arthur Neal Robinson) during the Atlanta Preservation Center's Phoenix Flies tour for 2011.

I met Travis Taylor there. His valuable new blog, tourAtlanta, is setting a high standard for exploring Atlanta (Travis has a great skill for writing). His post: "First Church of Christ, Scientist: Divine Architecture" is by far best thing on the web about the Church's buildings.


There isn't a more prominent, high-styled building on Peachtree. It's a kitty-cornered terminal vista just north of Colony Square, across the street from the High Museum at the grandest entrance to Ansley Park.


Seeing it once wasn't enough. I planned a second visit but my schedule took a bad twist.

I don't think there is any view in Atlanta that compares with the view from the portico. (Why didn't I take more pictures.)

The view from the narthex looking south through the open doors is spectacular. I urge you to climb those stairs next time you are at Colony Square, Symphony Hall, the High Museum, or Museum of Design Atlanta. The porch is a special place, designed to inspire humans.

Who doesn't want to see inside? I regret that I can't show you, but Travis gives us a great picture in words.

From the outside, it's rather intimating: monumental, elevated, formal, symmetric, cool, looking ancient, yet pristine. The inside matches the outside in that sense. It's spectacular yet a bit reserved.

I found something uncanny about the soaring symmetric interiors. The Church calls it the "auditorium" rather than the "sanctuary." They don't hold weddings or funerals here, the space isn't really fitted for either. So it's a bit unfamiliar to those expecting a typical church interior. But there is no mistaking: You'll know it's a church.

It's always reminded me of one of my favorites, Druid Hills Baptist Church, one of nearly 2 dozen churches on Ponce de Leon. Edward Emmett Dougherty designed Druid Hills Baptist.

It's a Beaux Arts look.

See what I mean? Top: Druid Hill Baptist Church, bottom: First Church of Christ, Scientist.
Top: Druid Hill Baptist Church, bottom: First Church of Christ, Scientist.

Read Travis's post: "First Church of Christ, Scientist: Divine Architecture"


  1. It seems to be interestingly sited, too. But while the color of the Baptist church seems natural, the coloring of the Church of Christ Scientist seems off, at least in the computer photos. Does it seem odd in person? Are the columns painted? What about the brick?

  2. DC, Near as I can tell, it's the all real stuff.


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