Architecture + Design

Walls: Christ Church Lutheran

If these walls could talk.

Walls: Christ Church Lutheran

If these walls could talk. As I sat waiting in the orange upholstered chair designed by a Danish midcentury master, I reasoned that Christ Church Lutheran might have the only lounge in the entire ELCA where Mad Men’s Don Draper would feel at home. Not that they serve anything much stronger than grape juice here, but the spare aesthetic soothes the nerves.

When Pastor Kristine Carlson arrives, she confirms that her congregation, rooted in modest German American stock, was transformed when Finnish genius architect Eliel Saarinen agreed to design and build a new church in 1949. It was Saarinen père’s last building.

His son Eero completed the vision when he built the community center wing in 1962. Now the south Minneapolis church serves as a destination for a certain sort of pilgrim, a type that sports more elaborate eyewear than others.

“I’ve had Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim architects come through to see our church,” Pastor Carlson says, admitting that her statement sounds like the setup to a hackneyed joke. She’s clearly happy to work in such a beautiful, progressive-looking place of worship, where the basketball court seems fit for a Kubrick film and all the chairs in the basement were designed by the Eames brothers.

“We really know how to party here,” she says. Nostalgia—it’s delicate, but potent.

Christ Church Lutheran | 3244 34th Ave. S., Mpls. | 1949