I was walking around Capitol Hill the other day and saw this church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.  It’s a nice little brick church built between 1923 and 1925.


I didn’t think much about it until I was nearly a block away and saw this extraordinary building down the back alley.


Was it an apartment building?  Or a space-age house?  I was so curious I had to take a closer look.


It turned out to be the most unique space-age church wing that I have ever seen – perhaps the only space-age church wing I have ever seen!  This addition was built in 1962 to the north and east of the 1920s Our Savior’s church building and is an educational wing for the church.  It currently houses St. Luke’s Ministry Nurse Aide Training Program, which trains men and women for a second career as a nurse’s aide.

The wing is made up of two towers – one at the north side of the addition and the other at the southeast corner of the property – as well as a horizontal connector between the towers and the original church building.  The towers were built with red brick and white-painted sheet metal, while the connector has sleek white-painted concrete and sheet-metal features.  The entire addition is visible from the street and the church’s parking lot, as well as from the back alley and the driveway, giving it many unique vantage points.  Here is a view of the front of the northern tower from the church’s parking lot on Emerson Street.


The northern tower is connected to the main church by this horizontal structure, below, also visible on Emerson Street.  I love the vertical fins that project from the second-story windows, the heavy overhang above the first floor and the unique polygonal piers between the sheets of glass.  You can also see the angular roofline of the southeastern tower in the background.  All of these are set back from the street to create a private patio and garden enclosed by the chain-link fence.


Although the horizontal connector is a wonderful design, the triangular shapes of the space-age towers are the real draw here.  Sadly, they are best seen from the back alley, and as such are constantly interrupted by power lines, dumpsters and parked cars.  Below is a detail of the southeastern tower’s faceted clerestory windows and its triangular roofline punctuated with triangular vents.


And below you can see the back side of the horizontal connector, complete with dumpsters and power lines.  It amazes me that the rear of the building facing the alley has more of a designed façade than those facing the street.


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