As a part of this assignment, I visited Christ Church in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1695, and played an important role in the establishment of the American Protestant Episcopal Church. As to the building itself, the church represents the Georgian architectural style. For instance, Christ church in Philadelphia reflects the architect’s strive for symmetry. The building is symmetrical both in its general and specific elements. In the meantime, there is a strong lack of décor and both inside and outside of the church. It can partly be explained by the peculiarities of the historical time when it was built – decorations were not profitable and functional, therefore, they were actively avoided. Although the church is made of bricks, the entrance doors and window openings are painted in bright colors. In fact, they are the accent of the whole church and add a creative tinge to it. The roof of the church is pitched and with gables, which echoes with the style of baroque art. It is important to note that the Georgian style of the church also reminds a bit of the Greek and Roman architectural tradition – the so-called “palladianism” is clearly visible in the design of the building. Minimal decor, clear geometric lines – these are the classical features the Georgian direction reflected in Christ Church.
Although the church was reconstructed back in 1777 by Robert Smith, the building remains very similar to its initial version. The only visible distinction is the use of color. Specifically, today the church seems to have a brighter tinge, if compared to its version on photographs and drawings. This, however, may also be attributed to the inaccurate representation of Christ Church in photos due to lack of proper technical means.
The church plays an important role in terms of allocating the effort and the resources of the Episcopal community. It receives both governmental and private funding, which helps the church to be in a relatively good state and be subjected to regular reconstruction. In my opinion, Christ Church in Philadelphia should receive a good funding because of its historical significance rather than due to its architectural values. Specifically, it played an important role in the process of American revolution, being the ‘Nation’s Church’. It hosted the members of the Continental Congress and American presidents such as John Adams and George Washington. Throughout time, history has been marked by uncountable problems like feuds, hatred, hunger, religious and political conflicts. Often these instances have been symbolically represented through the artistic works of the times. One of these important symbols is Christ Church. Christ Church is a dominant religious structure that, over hundreds of years, has been a symbol of the political regime in power through its architecture, art, and icons. In addition, the building has a tomb incorporated within its structure. The presence of a grave in the building shows that it served a purpose which transcended traditional daily ceremonies. More importantly, the building served as a place of burial for the powerful.
My own opinion about the church is quite controversial. On one hand, Christ Church is an architectural marvel. It represents the ability of human determination and dedication. Even in modern times, with advanced technology, the building still stands out as an architectural masterpiece. On the other hand, while appreciating the historical significance of the building and its role in the establishment of the American Protestant Episcopal Church, I do not like the Gregorian style of the church. From my point of view, it lacks decorations and colors, which creates a gloomy and depressive atmosphere inside of the church.
- History and People. Christ Church. https://www.christchurchphila.org/. Published 2012. Accessed February 16, 2018.