Church, Boston (1) & Shadyside Presbyterian Mother & Daughter
can reasonably consider Shadyside Presbyterian to be a daughter
, architecturally speaking. Trinity
is the design of Henry Hobson Richardson.
Members of his office staff and successor firm, Shepley, Rutan
& Coolidge (SR&C), designed Shadyside.
Only Charles Rutan, an engineer and construction superintendent,
was present for both. The
family resemblance is strong between mother and daughter, both being
lantern churches. What, then,
of Shadyside’s sisters – other churches designed by SR&C?
There are several to consider, although some of them exist only on
paper. (See also Shadyside's Second Cousins)
Baptist Church, Newton, MA (1) "The Crazy Aunt"
looking at the resemblance with the sisters, it is well to acquaint
ourselves with what we might call Shadyside’s “crazy aunt,”
. This may be a harsh
description, but the church’s appearance is quite uncharacteristic of
’s work. Following Trinity
by 12 years, Immanuel looks awkward by comparison.
It seems too tall for its breadth.
Its tower and “witch hat” roof are out of proportion with each
other and with the structure as a whole.
For an examination of Immanuel’s development, see the latter part
of the article Courthouse
’s only executed lantern church beside Trinity.
At Shadyside and her sisters, SR&C clearly used Trinity as a
starting point rather than Immanuel.
SR&C Design for Stanford Memorial Church(2)
Early Stanford Tower, Trinity, Old
Salamanca Cathedral (2)
Memorial, perhaps SR&C’s first church design, began to take shape
late in 1886, less than half a year after
’s death. Commissioned by
Leland Stanford and his wife for the university they founded, the church
was not actually built until 1903, to a design much modified by another
architect. Stanford Memorial
seems patterned less on Trinity’s lantern than on the Old Salamanca
Cathedral (which may be Trinity’s model).
Stanford’s twelve-sided tower approximates a round cylinder, as
opposed to the
church’s emphatically square shape.
Memorial Tower, Coolidge rendering (2)
designs adopted the square in part and increased the lantern’s size
proportionally to the balance of the church.
This proportion is closer to Trinity where, according to
, “the tower became, as it were, the church.”
Charles Allerton Coolidge’s wonderful pencil study of the
Stanford tower clearly depicts the “repose” that his tutor desired for
buildings. This sketch dates
from mid-1887, about a year before studies were begun by SR&C for
Shadyside. In their Shadyside
design, the square totally consumes the round and a radical simplification
of the massing and roof shape takes place.
Memorial, Hodges Design, As Built (2)
completion and construction of Stanford Memorial were delayed by the death
of Leland Stanford and an uncertain economy.
Direction of the project passed to Mrs. Stanford and her brother,
who eventually dismissed SR&C in favor of Charles Hodges.
The realized design must have chagrined Coolidge.
The Hodges lantern tower returned to a thinner, rounder shape and
assumed a fussiness never seen in the SR&C development.
The flying buttresses did little to tie the tower to the transepts
and nothing to strengthen the structure.
Perhaps fortuitously (perhaps providentially), an earthquake
destroyed this tower a few years after completion – never to be rebuilt.
Shadyside Presbyterian Presentation Drawing Enlarged
magnificent presentation rendering by Hugh Garden shows SR&C’s 1895
church and chapel proposal for Second Presbyterian Church in
. This view, from nearly the
identical perspective as Shadyside’s presentation drawing, shows
influences of both the Stanford and
churches. The massive tower
assumes a proportion to the transepts and narthex much like the one that
was so successful at Shadyside. Second
Presbyterian’s round (now sixteen-sided) tower sits on a square base
that is much truncated from Coolidge’s late Stanford composition.
Had this SR&C church been built, it would have rivaled
Shadyside in sense of repose. In
both designs, the tower is the church. (Garden's rendering technique
here is remarkable - the drawing sparkles. His skill is rivaled only
by Daniel A. Gregg, Harvey Ellis and Charles Maginnis.)
Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, SR&C Competition Drawing (1)
scale is important to both the
settings, in residential neighborhoods.
They are dignified and monumental without overpowering surrounding
homes. In an odd coincidence,
both churches are at
. There is some indication
that these streets were given their distinctively Presbyterian names
before the churches located there.
depiction includes the chapel to the left of the church proper.
This is the only part of the SR&C design actually built.
While its basic form survived, the masonry treatment changed
significantly. The drawing
shows random ashlar with polychrome accents and banding.
The actual chapel uses uniformly-coursed, alternating-width masonry
that was later used on the church.
Chapel & Link Church (3)
church, as construction started in 1898, was redesigned by Theodore Link,
a well-known and talented
architect. Link reduced the
tower size and extended the narthex-nave to a proportion much longer than
the earlier proposal. The
uniformity of stonework clearly places the structure in Victorian rather
than medieval context. Link
was one of a handful of architects who practiced Richardsonian Romanesque
in a manner worthy of its originator.
15 miles of Immanuel Baptist in
, SR&C proposed a design for another Baptist church in
. The setting recalls
, but for a more modest corner tower church.
The presentation drawing suffers by comparison with the quality of
those for Stanford, Shadyside and
. Like Shadyside, the drawing
shows a future church addition to the right and a Shingle Style parsonage
to the left.
Proposed Baptist Church, Malden Competition Drawing (1)
the plan of this church cannot be discerned from the drawing, it could be
cruciform, “L” or “T” shaped.
Since the window on the left is most prominent, we may presume that
the main axis of the worship space bisects this window.
If this is so, the tower as a main entrance is somewhat confusing,
as it has only indirect access to the principal worship space.
Albany City Hall Tower (4)
tower itself may be read as a truncation of
tower with its engaged turret. At
, the turret appears to enclose a stairwell, articulated by masonry
details and window placement. Indeed,
nearly every feature depicted finds precedent on a
building. SR&C handle the
scale and location of these details much more successfully than other
Richardsonian practitioners. It
is unclear, however, whether their mentor’s careful planning of interior
spaces was applied here.
First Parish Church, Brookline (1)
Rutan & Coolidge executed a more successful design for the
’s home and practice had been. (
’s great-grandfather, Joseph Priestly, was an early adherent of the
Unitarian movement.) This
structure (completed 1892) is a near contemporary of Shadyside and, while
it is a quite different church, it shows a similar clarity of design.
First Parish has a cruciform plan with short transepts.
The corner entrance tower adjoins a colonnade placed below a rose
window. In this respect, it
resembles First Unitarian in
by Frank Furness of a decade earlier, but is refined by comparison.
First Unitarian, Philadelphia
First Parish uses rough stone, the masonry is everywhere controlled and
contained by the wall planes. There
is a clear step away from
in this respect and in the thinner (yet still substantial) walls.
The gabled main mass is broad to begin with and colonnades on two
sides enhance the appearance of stability.
In addition to the tower, the church is anchored at the opposite
corner by a low pavilion. Where
Trinity and Shadyside are monumental, the
church is pastoral.
Parish has a fine Norman tower. Even
so, the structure resembles, not a Norman parish church, but a refined
Gothic Early English example with round-arch openings.
While this may or may not be an anachronism, the strains of
eclecticism in American architecture accepted such, and happily so in this
case. Here, we see SR&C
finding their own way. Shadyside
may be considered as their composition using many
features. First Parish is the
young firm’s own take on adapting Romanesque for an American
and her four sisters demonstrate that Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge were
competent church designers in their own right.
project shows that they stumbled. But
did, as well. It is
interesting to speculate where SR&C would have taken the Romanesque
Revival. The style’s
dominant but brief influence on the American scene was ended by unskilled
practitioners and a Renaissance Revival.
The talent we find in these examples allowed the firm to survive
’s death, a national recession of the 1890s and the continued churning
of architectural tastes.
(See also Shadyside's Second Cousins)
your comments or questions
Courtesy Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson
, successor firm to H H Richardson and Shepley Rutan & Coolidge
(2) Paul V. Turner, The Founders
& the Architects, The Design of
, Stanford, Ca, 1976
Photos from Mary G. Bard, Second
Presbyterian Church, A History 1838-1988,
, 1987, generously provided by the church.
Courtesy Mary Ann Sullivan http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm