Friday, December 26, 2008

Hidden Gem--First Church of Christ, Berkeley

Designed by Bernard Maybeck, the First Church of Christ Scientist in Berkeley is a well-known architectural gem among the design community in the Bay Area, yet it is often overshadowed by Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts.

This is a little known wedding venue for those planning a wedding in the Bay Area. Fans of the Palace of Fine Arts and the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco will probably find this church enchanting. Built in 1910, the church is a concrete and heavy timber structure and a manifesto of architectural elements found in Romanesque, Byzantine, and Gothic architecture that somehow coexist in harmony. The first 10 feet of the structure was concrete, as Maybeck was concerned about making a fire resistant building. The main sanctuary is grand and splendid, yet the scale is very human, a common thread found in Maybeck's designs. The side chapel, more commonly known as the Sunday School, has a more intimate feel.

Public tour of the church is organized by the Friends of First Church and takes place on the first Sunday of the month at 12:15 pm. Additional public concerts and events information can be found at Friends of First Church, Berkeley.

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