Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pasadena's All Saints Episcopal Church and preservationists battle over architecture

From LA Times

In Pasadena's historic civic district, there's a conflict between two images of sacred space.

The dispute involves a church, but it's a battle over architecture, not theology, that's dividing residents of the well-heeled city.

For years the large and venerable All Saints Episcopal Church and its often-spotlighted rector, the Rev. J. Edwin Bacon, have been in a deadlock with preservationists who say the church's expansion plans are intruding on the architectural history of the district.

The original Gothic Revival-style church built in 1923 stands across the street from Pasadena's California- Mediterranean-style City Hall and within the confines of the Pasadena Civic Center District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an example of civic art in the "City Beautiful" architectural style of the 1920s.

All Saints leaders and congregation members said the parish, with its 3,500 congregants, 125 ministries and 13,000 meetings a year, has become increasingly cramped and needs new spaces to meet, worship and incubate local nonprofit start-ups.

Preservationists clarified their respect for the church and its history in the community. But they said the distinctly contemporary design created by architect Michael Palladino of Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP — who worked on the Getty Center, among other high-profile projects — is out of context in the historic district.

More here-,0,7213573.story

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