Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; New Church Structures next to Old
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- Contributing Organization
- WNYC (New York, New York)
- AAPB ID
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- In this segment of Around New York, Robert C. Weinberg discusses new church buildings that compliment the main historic structure. He highlights an addition to the First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street by architect Edgar Tafel. He asserts that this building is successful because, "it in no way attempts to ape the old, neo-Gothic nineteenth-century eclecticism, nor to denigrate it by using a blatant modern style."
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- It is refreshing to see the church architects utilize modern forms and materials, with very simple, dramatic effect that is at the same time economical. There is a small interesting church by architect Victor Lundy in East Harlem, which enlivens one of our less privileged areas, and an unusually shaped, small synagogue, by architect William Briger, down near the Civic Center, that has just been finished. (I shall comment on each of these in the near future.) But there is another form of church architecture now being practiced which deserves comment. One of the earliest examples of this, which delighted New Yorkers, particularly those who live in Greenwich Village, is the annex to the great, early Victorian brownstone First Presbyterian Church, which occupies the west block front of Fifth Avenue from 11 th to 12th Streets. It had formerly used a pair of threadbare early 19th-century houses on 12th Street as its offices and parish house. To replace these, the church called on architect Edgar Tafel, who designed an excellent modern building completely satisfying the needs of today's church activities. He clothed the new wing in brick that harmonizes in color with that of the old church, enlivening it with soft green panels and with ornament deriving from the interesting old neo-Gothic details of the church itself. The resulting annex, providing the church with spacious, up-to-date quarters, is not only handsome in Itself, but forms a perfect companion piece to the old church. What is important is that it in no way attempts to ape the old, neo-Gothic nineteenth-century eclecticism, nor to denigrate it by using a blatant modern style. Architect Tafel has since used this concept in his design for other additions and parish houses related to existing churches built in days gone by, in the city and upstate, dramatizing the simpler beauties of the old, while at the same time creating modern facilities in a mellow style that is wholly appropriate to today's more complex requirements. Our city and our suburbs are rich in great old churches as well as town halls and libraries, designed by talented architects of the Victorian age, who used the fine materials and skilled artisans that are no longer available to us. These handsome monuments deserve not only to be retained and renovated in themselves, but to have their companion buildings, necessary for expanded activities, designed in a manner that relates to them as well as does architect Tafel's addition to the First Presbyterian Church on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street. Go and look at this sometime; and those of you who know of similar works elsewhere, note them too and spread the word. In enlarging and rehabilitating our older churches and public buildings, It is not necessary to destroy their original character, much less to erect a fake replica of a quite different historic era. Sensitive contemporary design by an architect who respects the old Is always In order. This is Robert C. Weinberg, critic in architecture for WNYC.
- Talk Show
- Arts.; City planning.; Architecture.; Church buildings.
- Media type
Host: Weinberg, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1901-1974
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 150057.1 (WNYC Media Archive Label)
Generation: Audio/Transcription dub
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- Chicago: “Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; New Church Structures next to Old,” 1967-11-09, WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_510-jw86h4dk00.
- MLA: “Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; New Church Structures next to Old.” 1967-11-09. WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_510-jw86h4dk00>.
- APA: Muni; Around New York with Robert C. Weinberg; New Church Structures next to Old. Boston, MA: WNYC, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_510-jw86h4dk00