Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA

at 2619 Dwight Way, Berkeley United States

Friends is a non-profit, non-denominational, volunteer organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece,

Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA
2619 Dwight Way
Berkeley , CA
United States

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The Academy of Art University School of Architecture and Interior Design will be asking to have special tours of First Church for its Bay Area Architecture class. And, 'speaking of' tours, don't forget that this Sunday will be the last Spring tour of the magnificent Arts and Crafts masterpiece First Church of Christ, Scientist by AIA Gold Medalist Bernard Maybeck and is Berkeley's only designated National Historic Landmark. The edifice was built in 1910. This will be a regular First Sunday Tour, held each month at 12:15 pm at 2619 Dwight Way. Please join us! Pictured is the richly textured and ornamented auditorium or sanctuary whose design was inspired by a mixture of historical sources and styles (Byzantine, Medieval, Japanese pagoda architecture, etc.)

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2016-06-01 02:55:40 GMT

Spring-like, the lovely floral pattern on the Readers' platform, by the decorative painter Christian Schneckenburger, glows with color as fresh and vibrant as the day they were painted in 1910. Resting on the concrete platform are two lecterns* supported by decorative concrete balls (painted blue). Architect Bernard Maybeck was able to retain the painter between a couple of his Bay area jobs, including one for the Spreckels sugar family. First Church of Christ,Scientist is the City of Berkeley's only National Historic Landmark. *presiding at the lecterns would be the First and Second Readers who read from scripture and the denominational text book of the church (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy)

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2016-05-06 03:06:37 GMT

Will tours happen on Sunday, Mother's Day?

Published Paula Sullivan Silver on 2016-05-04 14:37:32 GMT

David Dornfeld, a stalwart volunteer and board member of Friends of First Church (the organization which sustains this National Historic Landmark) , recently passed; the community of people in Berkeley who have valued all of his contributions to preserving architectural heritage buildings -- particularly those of Bernard Maybeck -- will continue to appreciate his legacy. Dr. Dornfeld was a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and was a global leader in design (he was appointed director of the university’s Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation in August 2015). Friends of First Church organization is grateful for his many contributions in the retrofitting process and preservation of the City of Berkeley's only National Historic Landmark Building. A link to his obituary describing his storied career can be found at the recent Manufacturing Engineering Website:

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2016-04-08 09:37:15 GMT

Are you here? In just a few minutes our monthly public tour will take place, as it always does on the first Sunday of each month. Take yourself and your friends out some day to enjoy touring the exquisite Bernard Maybeck Arts and Crafts architectural masterpiece of 1910, First Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley, from 12.15-1 pm. Maybeck aficionado Kris Wandell Impastato is soaking in the sights of the later Sunday School Chapel addition, in the attached photo.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2016-04-03 19:18:35 GMT

Watch a 16 minute portion of the remarkable feature-length documentary "Pursuing Beauty: The Architecture of Bernard Maybeck" by Paul Bockhorst Productions. The link will take you to Maybeck's masterpiece, First Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley, Ca. The documentarian, Paul Bockhorst was honored in 2014 by the prestigious organization, The American Institute of Architects, founded in 1857 to 'to create an architecture organization that would "promote the scientific and practical perfection of its members" and "elevate the standing of the profession."' -- AIA website The AIA, in honoring the filmmaker reports: "As a documentary filmmaker and producer, Paul Bockhorst is known for his ability to create narratives that are at once intelligent and accessible. His work at the helm of Paul Bockhorst Productions spans three decades, and it includes many public television documentaries on the history of art and architecture, as well as programs that inquire into the lives of individual artists. Some of his architecture-related work has delved into the history of Arts & Crafts architecture in California, with films such as “Greene & Greene: The Art of Architecture”; “Beautiful Simplicity: Arts & Crafts Architecture in Southern California”; “Designing with Nature: Arts & Crafts Architecture in Northern California”; and “Pursuing Beauty: The Architecture of Bernard Maybeck.” Bockhorst’s work has also examined the relationship of the built environment to the natural environment, with projects such as “A River Reborn: The Restoration of Fossil Creek,” a documentary about the decommissioning of Arizona’s first hydroelectric dam; “Treasuring Our Natural Heritage,” a three-part series on biodiversity; and “Discovering the Angeles,” which is a look at the urban-wildland interface in Southern California. Bockhorst’s productions on the visual arts share thematic attributes with his work on architecture, as visual artists and architects are similarly affected by historical context and often share aesthetic concerns. His arts-related work includes explorations of California art, as well as more focused angles on artists such as Gregory Kondos, Channing Peake, and Elaine Badgley Arnoux. In addition to being broadcast on public television stations, Bockhorst’s documentaries are used widely as interpretive and educational resources in museums, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other cultural institutions in the U.S. and abroad. They have been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the San Diego Museum of History, among others. Bockhorst’s current projects include a documentary examining the art and craft community that emerged in Claremont, California in the years following World War II, and another documentary on William Cody, an influential architect who helped make Palm Springs an oasis for Mid-Century Modern architecture."

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2016-03-16 06:37:06 GMT

Tomorrow, Sunday, get out of the rain and enjoy a tour of the City of Berkeley's only National Historic Landmark, the 1910 First Church of Christ, Scientist on 2619 Dwight Way at 12:15 pm. Enjoy the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts, as expressed in Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece and enjoy one of the fine presentation drawings which he showed to the selection committee which sought out the architect. It has a nearly Impressionistic quality to it with Maybeck's use of pastel, softly imparting the color to the practically line-less fenestration forms on the draft paper.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2016-03-06 05:14:54 GMT

Fair weather is forecast for a warm and sunny midwinter day in Berkeley tomorrow -- perfect for a tour of American Institute of Architects gold medalist, Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece of Arts and Crafts design, First Church of Christ, Scientist. The tour of Berkeley's only National Landmark Historic building begins at 12:15 (2619 Dwight Way). The church was designed and built in 1910. It, along with the Maybeck designed addition of the Sunday School Chapel (1928), pictured, are included on the 35 minute tour. The photo shows the rich blaze and blue colors used on the rostrum in the 1928 'chapel,' which are also picked up in the warm tones of the light fixtures which contrast with the somber poured concrete of the structure.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2016-02-06 22:07:53 GMT

Start your New Year with some bling! This Sunday will be the regular monthly tour of Bernard Maybeck's architectural masterpiece, First Church of Christ, Scientist, going on 106 years old. The gothic calligraphy-inspired lettering (on one of two piers) is the only real gold in the beautifully stenciled sanctuary which is filled with many polychromatic motifs from a medieval-inspired repertoire, applied to both the wood and moulded concrete. It is one of Christ Jesus' declarations, "I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly." The "gold" you may see elsewhere is automobile paint -- Maybeck was on a tight budget and used factory sash windows, asbestos panels, poured concrete, and other cost-saving measures but was still able to celebrate an Arts and Crafts aesthetic. The tour of the 1910 National Historic Landmark takes place at 12:15 pm and lasts about 35 minutes. Address is 2619 Dwight Way, Berkeley, Ca.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-12-31 02:36:57 GMT

Here is a photo of a small fireplace which you probably won't see on the regular tour of architect Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece, First Church of Christ, Scientist which will take place this first Sunday of the month, Dec. 6 at 12:15. It is in the board room off of the Fire Place Room (which was featured in our August posting). However, if you ask nicely, maybe your guide will let you into this room to have a peek. Notice it seems to be missing a piece of the wrought iron surround on the right. Does anyone know what happened to it? The wrought iron work is just one of many craftsman touches found throughout the 1910 edifice which is the city of Berkeley's only National Historic Landmark, designated in 1974. Maybeck was a master of achieving lovely muted tones in his poured concrete work as seen in the small fireplace. Look for parking along People's Park (address is 2619 Dwight Way).

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-12-03 20:48:57 GMT

It's that time again! Sunday, Nov. 1 come out and enjoy a tour of First Church on 2619 Dwight Way (Berkeley), at 12:15 pm. Enjoy the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts, as expressed in Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece. Enjoy the lively roof lines as seen in this photographic view from the courtyard. Some visitors see the influence of Norwegian stave churches, or Japanese Shinto shrines, or Chinese pagodas (all possible sources for the eclectic Maybeck). The materials, structure, and lines of force are almost always visible in Maybeck's edifices, such as First Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley, this City's only designated National Historic Landmark.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-11-01 03:55:51 GMT

Start your October with our premiere Autumn tour of First Church on 2619 Dwight Way (Berkeley), Sunday Oct. 4 at 12:15 pm. Enjoy the simple but refined aesthetics of Arts and Crafts decorative arts, as expressed in Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece, for which the movement aspired to ennoble and temper industrially manufactured furnishings and buildings with a quest to edify individuals who experienced it, to become more rational and advance harmony in society -- in sympatico with the Christian Science congregation who sought out the singular architect 115 years ago. Maybeck was truly an architectural progressive! Pictured is a very tonal cubby in the Sunday School with a lone chair for the teacher. The main hall of the Sunday School Chapel has a lot of color, but the cubbies are filled with tones and textures, including the hammered Belgian glass shoji-like factory sash windows. The Sunday School was designed by Maybeck later than the church edifice and Henry Gutterson was the architect in charge in 1928.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-10-03 22:20:29 GMT

Looking for a holiday activity over the long Labor Day weekend? Come for a tour of Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece in Berkeley (and this city's only designated National Historic Landmark). It will begin at 12:15 Sunday Sept. 6 and take in the breath-taking sanctuary, the fireplace room, wisteria courtyard, and the Sunday School chapel. Tours last a little over 30 minutes. Pictured are a couple of views of the poured concrete fireplace, the arts and crafts chairs, hand-crafted light fixture with exposed bulbs, and a glimpse of stenciling on the ceiling of the fireplace room. In one image you can see the Belgian hammered glass factory sash which Maybeck had to persuade the manufacturer to sell to him for a church! Built in 1910 the church is one of the Nation's preeminent examples of the Arts and Crafts movement. First Church of Christ, Scientist is on Dwight Way across from People's Park.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-08-26 19:40:23 GMT

...shimmering shoji-like factory-sash windows, low budget in 1910, but they are luminous and lovely (then and) now.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-07-24 06:03:18 GMT

Come join us for an Independence weekend tour of Bernard Maybeck's Arts and Crafts masterpiece on Dwight Way in Berkeley. The tour of First Church will take place Sunday July 5 at 12:15 pm and lasts about 30 minutes or so...

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-07-04 05:03:07 GMT

Honestly applied materials, fine craftsmanship, celebrating a spirit of creativity in colors and texture -- are some of the things that you'll find on the last tour of the Spring Season at First Church. It starts this Sunday (June 7) at 12:15, after the morning service, and will last about a half-hour or so at Berkeley's one and only National Historic Landmark, still on Dwight Way since 1910. Pictured: a polychromed pier and capital in the Sanctuary of the church, designed and built by Bernard Maybeck.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-06-04 21:55:22 GMT

Going on the BAHA house tour Sunday? Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association's annual house tour is May 3rd and will take in a number of fine homes, including some by Bernard Maybeck, the architect of First Church. Why not include an interlude at First Church for the monthly 12:15 first Sunday tour of Berkeley's only National Historic Landmark? And, check out some of Maybeck's presentation pastels or other architectural drawings (elevations, etc.) such as the one pictured here. The drawings are very nearly masterpieces in themselves! This one shows Maybeck's feeling for softening form with organic elements such as the pergolas supporting the wisteria, and a sensitivity to relate the building to it's original domestic neighborhood. [Regrettably, this digital image has reflected on it's protective glass, illuminated electric lamp shades from the Sunday School]

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-04-30 06:31:28 GMT

Emerge into Spring by checking out the lovely polychromed florals on the exquisite Readers' Desk in person! The next tour of American Institute of Architects Gold Medalist, Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece, takes place next week, Sunday April 5 at 12:15 P.M. Christian Schneckenburger was the artist who did much of the interior decorative painting in the sanctuary; his work is also known through his paintings in Gilded Age Bay Area mansions. When the rice paper, lining the concrete forms, crinkled and slumped, Maybeck had the artist turn the flaw into a Art Nouveau focal point. First Church of Christ, Scientist is on Dwight way (2619) between Bowditch and College. Tours last about 45 minutes. On the exterior, the pergolas, which support century-old wisteria should be blooming, as they respond to our warm and sunny Spring.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-03-29 21:21:08 GMT

The little Gothic church, is a detail from the poured concrete Readers' desk, and reminds one of the medievalist C.R. Morey who noted that Americans interest in medieval revival styles was a recognition of the power and spirituality of that age. Bernard Maybeck embraced a similar idea in the way he drew upon the esprit of the Romanesque and Gothic era in his approach to Arts and Crafts.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-03-07 21:58:09 GMT

Sunday February 1st, there will be a tour of Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece on Dwight Way in Berkeley at 12:15. In the sanctuary one can find beautifully crafted bronze light fixtures by Eulora Jennings, who was on the faculty of the California College of Arts in Crafts in 1910, the year First Church was built.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-02-01 05:42:18 GMT

Special tours can be scheduled for school groups and others. The music cabinet, pictured, reminds us of Maybeck's respect for fine craftsmanship in many materials and media (his father was a wood carver in New York and young Bernard had worked with him); this cabinet was the focus of our tour guide Judy, who had a group from the California College of Arts in 2014. A Harvard architecture student found a couple of guides at the church today waiting to give a special tour (related to guests from the Houghton Hall Exhibit going on at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco), and was, impromptu, invited in.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2015-01-10 07:24:37 GMT

Start your New Year with artistry and inspiration -- that is to say, with a tour of First Church, at 12:15 pm Jan. 4 (after the service). The tour will take you through the Fireplace Room, the Sanctuary, the interior courtyard, and the Sunday School Chapel of Bernard Maybeck's masterpiece and the City of Berkeley's only National Historic Landmark. [photo credit: grandi-flora BlogSpot]

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2014-12-31 17:13:00 GMT

The beautiful church sanctuary, 'Berkeley's foremost landmark,' will be the venue for BAHA's 40th Anniversary Event Sunday Nov. 23rd from 2 - 4 pm... This is a Free Community Event. Celebrate 40 years of preservation education and action: BAHA (Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association) was incorporated in 1974. There will be remarks and reminiscences by founders and leaders of BAHA. The entire community is welcome to this free event; also observed will be the 40th anniversary of the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance and the many struggles to preserve the heritage and texture of Berkeley, of which First Church of Christ, Scientist by Bernard Maybeck, is a signature example.

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2014-10-30 09:22:51 GMT

Join us for a tour of Berkeley's only nationally listed historic landmark! One will take place this Sunday (Oct. 5th) at 12:15 pm. Photo is a Romanesque inspired historiated capital from the exterior of the church. [photo credit: AURORA website, Justyn Zoli, artist]

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2014-10-05 05:46:20 GMT

How did Bernard Maybeck architecturally treat or accommodate organ pipes? This question has been asked over the years in relation to two of Maybeck's most masterful, and sacred works: First Church of Christ, Scientist Berkeley (1910) and Principia College Chapel in Elsah, Illinois (1931) both designated United States National Historic Landmarks. There is a third, virtually unknown structure Maybeck built in Oakland, to house an organ (a client of his had an organ-despising wife who insisted that his pipe organ be relegated to the back yard instead of inside the family residence -- this structure is currently being tracked down). As organ historian James H. Cook observed in 1998, "In the later years of the nineteenth century, builders began placing organs in chambers, often a separate room open to the space in which the instrument was meant to be heard. This practice continues, although the movement since 1950 has been to avoid chambers when possible so that the sound is not trapped by architectural elements that define the chamber itself... Chambers can be covered with grills that completely hide the pipes behind them. In other installations, a façade that is modeled on the front of a case can allow some pipes to be seen, even though most of them are located behind a wall in a chamber." Many Christian Science churches concealed pipes with decorative grills (such as the 1920s Second Church in San Francisco), but many also celebrated their appearance and used them as a focal point behind the Readers Platform. At First Church in Berkeley, Maybeck created a kind of compromise, with an airy 'Venetian Gothic' (his words) architectural feature, which is part 'grill' but reads more like a colonnade, and which has an almost screen-like characteristic in its upper portions. Maybeck painted it in an industrial metallic gold; he later (in a self-contradictory way) somewhat disavowed the idea of the screen in a 1953 interview with church members, however the drawings are clearly in Maybeck's own hand! He seems to have had second thoughts about this feature. The present instrument is a 1953 Austin organ which has many of its pipes in what amounts to a chamber behind the manuals (reached by a narrow stair behind the Readers' Platform). Later, at Principia College Chapel, apparently Freddie Morgan (the College's point man for the building of the campus and liaison to Maybeck) didn't much care for displaying organ pipes and he found a sympathetic ear with the architect. Maybeck's solution was to have a heavy red French damask drapery mask the pipes and serve as a colorful focal point for the simple interior's platform. Not an optimal acoustic solution! During organ concerts, the notable Charles-Marie Widor authority and organist, John Near, would draw the curtains aside because they could diminish the clarity of the instrument. There is a fourth place Maybeck treats an organ and its pipes -- the Sunday School 'chapel' at First Church (1928 -- 18 years after his design of the main sanctuary and three years before Principia chapel). Here the pipes are displayed. Does anyone know the history of this organ? [photo credits: BAHA news photo shows Pacific Boy Choir in 2005 / Principia Chapel interior -- from 'Maybeck and Principia College, a Principia College website]

Published Friends of First Church Berkeley - CA on 2014-08-30 06:22:44 GMT

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(the corner of Dwight Way and Bowditch - across the street from Peoples Park) We are a nondenominational, nonprofit organization dedicated to support the preservation of this National Historic Landmark.
The Documenary on the Church
"An American Masterpiece"
by Paul Bockhorst Now on YouTube!
Click to View "An American Masterpiece" Or on YouTube.
Request "An American Masterpiece."
Maybeck Legacy CelebrationJune 30, 2013Speakers, Award, Displays Click for More Details
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