logoThis wonderful church was designed in 1910 by architect Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957). The American Institute of Architecture named it
one of the three finest uniquely American churches in the United States. It was listed a National Historic Landmark in 1977

Maybeck was born in New York in 1862. At the age of 20, he studied architecture at Ecloe des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After his studies in Paris,
he moved to San Francisco in 1890.


logoHis studies, at Ecloe des Beaux-Arts in Paris, exposed him to design theories which combined architectural styles of the past with the technological
advancements of the age. Throughout his career, Maybeck built on these design principles and developed an eclectic vocabulary of forms
and materials. This is beautifully expressed in First Church of Christ Scientist, Berkeley.



logoBernard Maybeck is acknowledged as one of America's great architects. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects in 1951. He designed 150-160 projects that were built, of which 100 are still standing.
Most of his work was in the Bay Area and especially in Berkeley, although his largest commission was the design of Principia College in Elsa, Illinois.
The two buildings which are considered his masterpieces are First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berkeley and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco (1915).


Beside the gothic tracery, there are Romanesque arches on the capitals at the top of the four great piers that support the trusses. And many see Byzantine influences in the color and geometric shapes of the applied decorations.


The basic plan is that of a square or Greek cross, with two pair of great crossed trusses
spanning the central space overhead. Maybeck embellished them with glowing gilt tracery panels
whose graceful curves are echoed throughout.

auditoriumback windows

For windows, Maybeck choose to use industrial steel sash - over the objections
of the manufacturer. Then he altered them by dividing the panes in half and
ordering hammered Belgian glass which had the effect of filtering the sunlight
and shadows from the outside.


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