There is, perhaps, no greater symbol of our era's split with past cultures than the new church architecture developed in the past decade.
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Background: There is, perhaps, no greater symbol of our era's split with past cultures than the new church architecture developed in the past decade. These new designs reached startling heights yesterday with the dedication of the First Presbyterian Church in Stamford, Connecticut.
The church is designed in the shape of a fish, a symbol for Christ dating back to the early Christians in the Catacombs. The stained glass windows are made of two thousand inch-thick chunks of colored glass forming abstract designs. The main entrance is at the side of the church and is dominated by an abstract concrete figure. The walls rise sixty feet above the altar into a ridge like a fish's back. The soaring space and the jewelled light of the interior give a Gothic atmosphere--the twentieth century version of a medieval cathedral. Above the altar, a 32-foot high cross. The pulpit marble sounding board is shaped like an open bible. The nave can accommodate eight hundred worshippers. Three stained glass windows, 100 feet wide, suggest in abstract designs--the Crucifixion on one side wall, the Resurrection on the other, and on the rear wall, symbols of leaves and fishes. The architect is Wallace Harrison, who helped design Rockefeller Center and the United Nations buildings. Two hundred and thirty-four feet long, covering a quarter of an acre, the church cost a million and a half dollars. Ninety percent of the parishioners favor its architecture.