Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Posts tagged “Religious Architecture

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament (1915)

Henry A. Walsh, Architect; 1915

Gunnar Birkerts, Architect – renovations 1999-

9844 Woodward Avenue, Detroit 48202

Aerial View and Directions

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Photos taken October 17, 2011

Driving down Woodward Avenue this evening, the sunlight on the west facade of the Cathedral was just right for a photo, so I had to stop.

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is the Mother Church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. Started in 1915 as a parish Church, it was not initially completed until it became the Diocesan Cathedral. The towers were finally completed in the early 1950’s, and more recently, Gunnar Birkerts designed a strikingly contemporary interior carefully inserted in the Neo-Gothic edifice. Most of Birkerts work is not evident from the exterior -with the exception of the plaza to the north, and the black granite slab sign. Next time I see there is an event at the Cathedral, and I am dressed appropriately, I may stop in and get some interior photos.

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Park Synagogue (1950)

Erich Mendelsohn, Architect

3300 Mayfield Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Map and Aerial View

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Visited June 1, 2011

While studying architecture in College, Mendelsohn’s Einstein Tower in Potsdam (1917-21) was always a prime example of Expressionist Architecture in the books and lectures. I also vaguely remember images of a hat factory  in Germany, but other than that I was not familiar with any other buildings by Mendelsohn. Doing some initial roadtrip research on notable buildings in northern Ohio, I was shocked to find a Synagogue in Cleveland Heights designed by “Eric Mendelsohn”. I did a little more research and found out it was the same “Erich Mendelsohn” that designed the Einstein Tower (he shortened his surname to “Eric” while in England in the 1930’s). Mendelsohn had moved to the UK in 1933 in reaction to the rise of antisemitism in Germany. He then moved to the United States in 1941 and taught at the University of California Berkeley, and lived in the USA until his death in 1953.

Well upon this discovery, I had to visit the Park Synagogue to see what Eric has been up to while in the USA.

While lacking the dramatic curving expressionist form of his Einstein Tower, the large copper clad dome and the light tan brick composition has a dignified presence. The circular shape of the dome is repeated in the porthole windows and planter walls in other parts of the complex. The main building is situated in the side of a hill allowing for the lower level on the northwest side to extend out beyond the footprint of the dome and open out to the lawn. I was a little disappointed that the building design was not as daring as Mendelsohn’s early work, but left satisfied with his mature work.


St. Panteleimon Church (1999)

1123 44th St. NE, Canton OH, 44714

Map and Aerial View

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Visited June 1, 2011

Based on 14th-17th century churches in Maramures and Transylvania

This church was built in Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramures County, Romania in 1999.

It was disassembled and shipped to the USA and re-assembled on The National Mall in Washington D.C. for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Following the Festival, the church was re-assembled at its present site, donated to the Romanian Catholic Diocese of Canton, OH


Temple Beth El (1922)

Albert Kahn, Architect

8801 North Woodward Avenue, Detroit MI

Aerial View

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From my Achive

This monumental neoclassical temple was the second building Kahn designed for his own Reformed Jewish Congregation. Kahn, also known for his industrial architecture ( see the Ohio Steel Foundry), here he shows his mastery of classical architectural forms.