Thursday, June 5


The Largest Art Deco Church in the World

This singular title belongs to Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a fascinating period piece, if rather on the plain side. Art deco is a curious style at times, but on the whole I am inclined to consider it more aligned to the continuous western tradition of design than to modernism, despite borrowing some of the crisper, more attractive elements of modernist architecture and rendering them pleasingly decorative with infusions of Assyro-Babylonian severity, Gothic height and a few dashes of the classical.

Sometimes such projects try too hard to look new and reinvent the wheel, but other times they can be quite striking. However, the figural sculptures on the structure are far too geometrically-rendered and abstract (unlike the work of other more realistic Deco sculptors such as Goodhue's favorite, Lee Lawrie), and detract considerably from the worth of the building. At the very least it remains a fascinating curiosity and a reminder of the untapped and underappreciated architectural patrimony that lies in between our coasts.

The last two photos are by one Eschipul at Flickr, noted per the grounds of the Creative Commons license. More photos can be found at Flickr.

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