Religious Buildings

Architect Bernard Roney designed Saint Barnabas Roman Catholic Church at 6300 Buist Avenue in 1951.  Its distinctive bell tower echoes the church designs of influential modernist Eliel Saarinen.

Though best known for their National Products Building in Old City, the firm of Sabatino and Fishman specialized in ecclesiastic architecture. Their Beth Emeth Synagogue at 6652 Bustleton Avenue, built in 1958, displays a playful modern take on traditional mosaic and stained glass. The building is now vacant save for the unfortunate cell towers now occupying the roof.

Point Breeze’s King David Baptist Church (1133 S. 20th Street) is an eye-catching “high vernacular” design that elevates an otherwise anonymous storefront church into a neighborhood landmark. Built in 1965, the design is credited to architect James Gaskins of Philadelphia.

Architect Nick James Chimes spent much of his career working in the offices of Vincent Kling, but his 1967 design for the Saint Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 6729 N. 5th Street is one his more distinctive solo works.

University Lutheran Church was designed by Pietro Belluschi and Alexander Ewing and completed in 1969 at 3637 Chestnut Street. Belluschi was one of the era’s most prolific and influential architects. His Rohm & Haas building is a better-known Philadelphia work, but this small church is no less characteristic of his austere and finely-detailed designs.

Mansell, Lewis & Fugate built the swooping Mount Zion Baptist Church at 8101 Erdrick Street in 1969.  This was one of the firm’s first major commissions.

The Martin Luther King Center was built in 1970 as an addition to the Holy Cross Lutheran Church at 9th and Lehigh.  The building’s design employs the stark angularity of Brutalism on an unusually intimate scale.

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