Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Third Church of Christ, Scientist, one of the finer examples of Brutalist architecture, is inching its way to demolition. The debate over its fate is between the owners, who would like to sell it, and historic preservationists, who want to compel the Christian Scientists to maintain it.
Brutalism has few fans and far more devoted enemies. It is, for many, the architectural equivalent of an erotic novel about Helen Thomas: not something that you want your eyes to fall upon. But as a matter of public policy, I agree with Jonah Goldberg that those who wish to preserve historic items always have the option of buying them:
The church doesn't want to destroy the building, the church wants to better serve its flock by selling the building. If the government or a group of folks like yourself want to save the building, I am sure the owners will gladly sell it. What the historic preservationists want is to save the building, but make the church bear the financial burden. That seems unfair to me generally, and especially problematic given that it's a church and the state isn't supposed to boss around churches.
Saying "you should save that" is always easy, when the costs are carried by someone else.