The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, is a modernist, neo-gothic construction.

The main National Presbyterian Church sanctuary is a modernist, neo-gothic construction. It’s tall windows and arches recall the gothic cathedrals of Europe, but with the brutal minimalism of concrete. Except that there are small details that bring it one step back from minimal. As if it were the slab serif of modernist architecture.

The entire structure and surrounding gardens are in this style, but the neighboring school and related buildings are more traditional. It’s as if the building is standing up against the world to establish its own reality. Which is a reflection of the inside, which isn’t visible here. The ceiling represents an inverted ark, providing a place of refuge. But that’s a subject for another time.

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James Smith