|Church of Christ|
New York City, NY
Streetscapes/East 80th Street From Madison to Park Avenues;
A Block With Rare Windows and Unusual Statues.
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY
The block of East 80th Street from Madison to Park Avenues is one of the most charming on the Upper East Side, a mix of row houses and individually built town houses, with a dramatically modern church. Although the block is not included in any historic district, it is memorable for at least four reasons: two copper oriel, or projecting, windows, and two unusual statues.
The 1940's and 1950's saw half a dozen of the old brownstones stripped of their ornament or completely destroyed. In 1966, the Manhattan Church of Christ had Eggers & Higgins design their new building on a double lot at No. 48. Faced with ribbed concrete in an off-center arrangement, the facade has a great central matrix of epoxy with embedded chips of stained glass.
Early renderings and photographs indicate that lighting was an essential part of the design; some show the concrete portion dark, outlining the stained glass lighted from inside, and others show the stained glass dark, the facade raked by concealed lighting. The architecture critic Paul Goldberger, in his 1979 book, ''The City Observed: New York,'' said the design was ''surprisingly successful,'' the ''sort of attempt to rise above the ordinary that is all too rare in New York.''
New York Times, March 7, 2004