“Solon Spencer Beman and the Metaphysics of Christian Science Architecture”
Ivey, Paul E. Ivey. “Solon Spencer Beman and the Metaphysics of Christian Science Architecture.” Influence Across Fields, The Chicago Architectural Club Journal 10, 2002, 78-81.
Ivey outlines the rising popularity of the classical style for the rapidly growing Christian Science church in the Midwest by highlighting Solon Spencer Beman, a well-known Chicago architect. Beman advocated classical architecture because it translated “spiritual ideals such as harmony, purity, calmness, dignity and beauty” (78) into his architectural designs. These classical church buildings not only “put an authoritative public face” on the new movement but reflected Beman’s commitment to produce an architecture that “impelled moral behaviors into the commercial world” (78), linking spiritual ideals to the built environment. Underlying his growing dedication to Christian Science metaphysics, he also believed in the “reformative power of pure, rational architecture” (78). Beman was part of a wave of interest in a renewal of classical architecture after the success of the architecture of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Ivey traces Beman’s career from his commercial buildings up to the Merchant Tailor’s building for the Exposition that became a model for several prominent Christian Science branch churches in Chicago. Ivey also outlines Beman’s defense of the classical style for Christian Science’s self-expression because Beman believed that “true architecture actually reflected what Christian Scientists believed was the present, timeless perfection of God’s spiritual creation” (80-81).
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0961405229
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