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FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH 2004 (1950/1971)
 
 
Set of 37 photographs. In 1949, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned by Peyton Canary, the President of Southwest Christian Seminary in Glendale, AZ, to design the buildings for their 80 acre campus. Dr. Canary cofounded the Seminary in 1947. The campus was to include the administrative buildings, seminar rooms and library, a Greek theater, faculty housing and a chapel. Drawings were completed in 1950 but shelved after the Seminary closed in 1963.
       Rev. William Speas Boice was four years old when his family moved from Idaho to Phoenix. He graduated from high school there and received his Chaplain Certification from Harvard University. After served during WWII he became the founding minister of the First Christian Church in Phoenix in 1952.
       As a minister, Rev. Boice developed a relationship with the Seminary and their president Peyton Carney. Boice was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Southwest Christian Seminary. Because of the association that developed between the two, from the inception Boice had been aware of the plans the Seminary had for their new campus.
       After the Seminary closed, Boice convinced his congregation to approach the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and they acquired the chapel plans for their churches sanctuary. With the assistance of the Taliesin Associated Architects, under the direction of William Wesley Peters, working plans were generated. Ground was
  broken in 1971, and the church was completed in 1972.
       Twenty tons of native Arizona stone, collected from the 600 acres desert surrounding Taliesin West, were utilized for phase one, the construction of the Church building.
       Phase two, the free-standing bell tower, constructed of steel, stone and concrete, was built and dedicated in 1978. According to Charles Montooth "The $225,000 tower of precast concrete panels is topped with a four-ton gold cross lit at night from within the tower. An eighteen foot high pedestal of native Arizona stone and patterned concrete supports the precast panels." Frank Lloyd Wright Newsletter, September-October 1978, p.1. The tower included a three bell carillon.
       Phase three, the completion of the North end of Wright's master plan began in 1978. The $1,041,000 addition included classrooms, administrative offices and the "Lyceum" on the upper level. Project architect for the final phase was Aubrey Banks, Taliesin Associated Architects.
       The building, which has become a local landmark, has been called "one of the 10 best church buildings ever built in America" by the Church Architects Guild of America. Following Wright’s original plans, the First Christian Church of Phoenix was awarded the red signature tile.
       This set of 37 images was photograph on April 26, 2004 by Douglas M. Steiner.
     
     
n Elevation of the Chapel ... Tower ... Administration Building ... Lookout Tower ... Auditorium ... Library.
Southwest Christian Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect.
Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
 
Detail: Elevation of the Chapel, Tower, Administration Building, Lookout Tower and Auditorium. Southwest Christian Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
 
Detail: Elevation of the Chapel and Tower. Southwest Christian Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
 
Detail: Elevation of the Administration Building, Lookout Tower and Auditorium. Southwest Christian Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
 
Aerial view of the Chapel, Tower, Administration Building, Lookout Tower, Auditorium and Library. Southwest Christian Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect. Courtesy of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
 
 Floor Plan 1971. Courtesy of the First Christian Church, adapted and copyrighted by Douglas M. Steiner 2014.
 
Aerial view of First Christian Church, Courtesy of Google Maps 2014.
 
First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971) circa 1977-78. Booklet produced by the church. Photographed prior to phase two and three, bell tower and additional offices and classrooms.
 
First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Northeast. The Bell Tower, built in 1978 as Frank Lloyd Wright designed it, is in the foreground. The Sanctuary is on the left, class rooms and administration offices, in the center and on the right. The "Lyceum" is on the North end (right) on the upper level. The North end was added in 1979 completing Wrights original design. The roof rises upward and seems to float above glass windows. Note: we captured this image from the internet because it is the closest photographs that depicts the church as Wright illustrated it. Photographed on September 22, 2011, Courtesy of cygnusloop99, Panorama.
 
Note: Please overlook the lack of quality in these images. Digital cameras were in their infancy in 2004.
1) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Southwest. Main entrance is to the left, arbor is to the right. Wright originally designed the roof in copper, but due to costs, the roof was finished in pale blue, simulating oxidized copper. The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The roof and spire rise 77 feet high. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. The top of the bell tower can be seen in the background. (ST#2004.38.0714-1)
 
2) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Southwest. Roof detail. Wright originally designed the roof in copper, but due to costs, the roof was finished in pale blue, simulating oxidized copper. The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. The top of the bell tower can be seen in the background. (ST#2004.38.0714-2)
 
3) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Southwest. Southwest corner of the sanctuary. Evident in every aspect of the design, Frank Lloyd Wright wove the triangle, symbolic of the Christian Trinity, throughout the whole design. Twenty columns surround the sanctuary, with a total of 30 when you include the Arbor. (ST#2004.38.0714-3)
 
4) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of the columns that surround the sanctuary. (ST#2004.38.0714-4)
 
5) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of the overhead walkway edge. (ST#2004.38.0714-5)
 
6) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of the railing. (ST#2004.38.0714-6)
 
7) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of Southwest arbor column. (ST#2004.38.0714-7)
 
8) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Twenty columns surround sanctuary and support the roof. The edge of the glass windows is embedded in the concrete column above and below. Triangular plant beds are cut into the concrete sidewalk. (ST#2004.38.0714-8)
 
9) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of the sanctuary column. The edge of the glass windows is embedded in the concrete column. (ST#2004.38.0714-9)
 
10) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). The design of the roof fascia repeats the triangle detail. (ST#2004.38.0714-10)
 
11) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the South. The roof rises upward and seems to float above glass windows. The front point of the roof cantilevers out approximately 35 feet. The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. Wright originally designed the roof in copper, but due to costs, the roof was finished in pale blue, simulating oxidized copper. The arbor is seen on the left and wright. The Bell Tower, built in 1978 is on the far right. (ST#2004.38.0714-11)
 
12) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the South. The roof rises upward and seems to float above glass windows. The front point of the roof cantilevers out approximately 35 feet. The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. Wright originally designed the roof in copper, but due to costs, the roof was finished in pale blue, simulating oxidized copper. The arbor is seen on the left and right. The Bell Tower, built in 1978 is on the far right. (ST#2004.38.0714-12)
 
13) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the South. Roof detail. Wright originally designed the roof in copper, but due to costs, the roof was finished in pale blue, simulating oxidized copper. The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. (ST#2004.38.0714-13)
 
14) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Northeast. The roof rises upward and seems to float above glass windows. The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. (ST#2004.38.0714-14)
 
15) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Northeast. Twenty columns surround the sanctuary, with a total of 30 when you include the Arbor. (ST#2004.38.0714-15)
 
16) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of the columns that surround the sanctuary. (ST#2004.38.0714-16)
 
17) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the East. Class rooms and administration offices. The "Lyceum" is on the North end (right) on the upper level. The North end was added in 1979 completing Wrights original design. The roof rises upward and seems to float above glass windows. (ST#2004.38.0714-17)
 
18) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). The edge of the glass window is embedded in the concrete wall. Twenty tons of stone, collected from the 600 acre desert surrounding Taliesin West, were utilized for the construction of the Church. Stones were placed inside the forms, concrete poured over the rocks forming naturally decorative walls, much like the walls at Taliesin West. Triangular plant beds are cut into the concrete sidewalk. (ST#2004.38.0714-18)
 
19) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Exterior walls of the Lyceum. Stones were placed inside the forms, concrete poured over the rocks forming naturally decorative walls. Roof fascia repeats the triangle motif, creating four triangles per section. The Lyceum was added in 1979 completing Wrights original design. (ST#2004.38.0714-19)
 
20) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). The Lyceum’s roof rises upward and seems to float above glass windows. (ST#2004.38.0714-17)
 
21) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Northeast. The balcony on the north end of the building cantilevers outward toward the Northwest. The exterior walls of the balcony match the building. Stones were placed inside the forms, concrete poured over the rocks forming naturally decorative walls. (ST#2004.38.0714-21)
 
22) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the Northwest. Stairs lead to the second level and the class rooms and administration offices. The wall at the top of the stairs forms a triangle. A balcony runs the length of the upper level. The roof rises upward. The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. Wright originally designed the roof in copper, but due to costs, the roof was finished in pale blue, simulating oxidized copper. (ST#2004.38.0714-22)
 
23) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). The shelf appears to lack visible supports. Concrete wall in the Narthex (the antechamber, or distinct area at the western entrance of some early Christian churches). Stones were placed inside the forms for the walls and ceilings of the Narthex. Concrete was poured over the rocks forming naturally decorative walls and ceiling. The sanctuary can be seen in the background on the left. (ST#2004.38.0714-23)
 
24) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). The entrance to to the left. Detail of the decoratively patterned column. The table is most likely designed by either Frank Lloyd Wright or adapted by the Taliesin Architects. From the Narthex, as you walk toward the sanctuary, thin strips of vertical blue glass are inset between vertical sections of concrete. (ST#2004.38.0714-24)
 
25) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Evident in every aspect of the design, Frank Lloyd Wright wove the triangle, symbolic of the Christian Trinity, throughout the whole design. Twenty columns surround sanctuary and support the roof, and seems to float above the sanctuary, with a total of 30 when you include the Arbor. The ceiling is gold, Carpets and upholstery are blue. (ST#2004.38.0714-25)
 
26) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of the columns that surround the sanctuary. (ST#2004.38.0714-26)
 
27) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Detail of the back of the sanctuary. (ST#2004.38.0714-27)
 
28) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). The sawtooth clerestory windows rise from the ridge and form the spire which reaches heavenly. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass, glass imported from France, Belgium, and Italy and assembled in Tempe. (ST#2004.38.0714-28)
 
29) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). Viewed from the center of the sanctuary looking straight up. The clerestory windows and spire are inset with colored art glass. The center diamond shaped art glass is the spire. (ST#2004.38.0714-29)
 
30) First Christian Church, Phoenix, AZ (1971). With the assistance of the Taliesin Associated Architects, under the direction of William Wesley Peters, working plans were generated from the original unused 1950 Seminary plans. Ground was broken in 1971, and the church was completed in 1972. Following Wright’s original plans, the First Christian Church of Phoenix was awarded the red signature tile. (ST#2004.38.0714-30)
 
31) First Christian Church Bell Tower, Phoenix, AZ (1978). Viewed from the Southeast. The church is on the left. The free-standing bell tower was built and dedicated in 1978. 120 feet tall, constructed of steel, stone and concrete, it is topped with three bells and a 22-foot, gold cross. Stones were placed inside the forms, concrete poured over the rocks forming naturally decorative walls, much like the walls at Taliesin West. Seven sections decrease in size as they reach the bell tower. Constructed in panels, the four-sided tower appears triangular is shape. (ST#2004.38.0714-31)
 
32) First Christian Church Bell Tower, Phoenix, AZ (1978). 120 feet tall, constructed of steel, stone and concrete, it is topped with three bells and a 22-foot, gold cross. Stones were placed inside the forms, concrete poured over the rocks forming naturally decorative walls, much like the walls at Taliesin West. (ST#2004.38.0714-32)
 
33) First Christian Church Bell Tower, Phoenix, AZ (1978). 120 feet tall, constructed of steel, stone and concrete, it is topped with three bells and a 22-foot, gold cross. Stones were placed inside the forms, concrete poured over the rocks forming naturally decorative walls, much like the walls at Taliesin West. (ST#2004.38.0714-33)
 
34) First Christian Church Bell Tower, Phoenix, AZ (1978). Viewed from the base looking toward the top. It is topped with three bells and a 22-foot, gold cross. (ST#2004.38.0714-34)
 
35) First Christian Church Bell Tower, Phoenix, AZ (1978). Viewed from the Northwest. The church is on the right. The seven sections that decrease in size as they reach the bell tower, are smooth with decorative triangles. The three bells are hidden from this side. (ST#2004.38.0714-35)
 
36) First Christian Church Bell Tower, Phoenix, AZ (1978). Detail of seven sections. They decrease in size as they reach the bell tower and are smooth with decorative triangles. The three bells are hidden from this side. (ST#2004.38.0714-36)
 
37) First Christian Church Bell Tower, Phoenix, AZ (1978). Bell Tower, Erected to the glory of God, and honoring William A. "Doc" Boice and Geneva Boice. Given by Benjamin F. And Martha Younker Family. 1978. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (ST#2004.38.0714-37)
 
 
 
Text and photographs copyright 2014, Douglas M. Steiner
 
   
   
Date: 1978

Title: Frank Lloyd Wright Newsletter - V1 #5 - September-October 1978 (Published by the Frank Lloyd Wright Association)

Author: Editor: Heinz, Thomas A.;  1) Montooth, Charles  2) Puma, Jerome  3 & 4) Heinz, Thomas A.

Description: Masthead design by E. Fay Jones.  1) Wright design takes shape in Arizona.  2) Larkin Building Demolition.  3) The Larkin Building Mechanical System Re-Evaluated.  4) The Larkin Building Fence Pier.  5) Public Buildings in the West & SW.  6) Properties Available. Original List Price $2.50.

Size: 8.5 x 11

Pages: Pp 12

ST#: 1978.19.0105

   
   
   
THE SEMINARY NEWS
   
Date: 1950

Title: The Seminary News - April 1950 (Published six times a year by The Southwest Christian Seminary, Phoenix, AZ)

Author: Canary, Peyton H. Jr.

Description: Southwest Christian Seminary (Project). "Our Architect. Dr. Frank Lloyd Wright. The patrician pictured above is known and admired in every nation under heaven as the greatest architect in the world has ever known. More than a quarter of a century ago, this scribe fell in love with the buildings, the artistic ideals, with the genius that is Frank Lloyd Wright. I read everything he had in print, then, and ever since have followed his work with mounting joy and wonder... And it may be that even now God is likewise touching the hearts of some who love Wright’s kind of architecture and our kind of education. If so, we may have soon a plant of exquisite loveliness which will stand and serve for a thousand years to the glory of God and to the eternal credit of the good men and women who made it possible. So may it be!" Includes one portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright by Carlyle Studios, New York. Gift from Kathryn Smith.

Size: 9 x 12

Pages: Pp 1-2

S#:
0831.74.0319
   
 
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