Charles Paul Freund writes about the preservation paradoxes swirling around an architecturally-unloved 1970s-era Christian Science church in Washington, DC:
So why has the city's Historic Preservation Review Board unanimously declared the Third Church of Christ, Scientist to be an official D.C. landmark, preventing not only its demolition, but even its unauthorized alteration? Because, it turns out, it is a sterling example of the mid-century school of design known as Brutalism.Our fair city has quite a bit of Brutalist architecture, including the Melvin Municipal Office Building, aka City Hall. Sometime in the next generation, people are going to start talking about tearing it down, and we're going to have to decide whether to keep it.
... Brutalism's preservers remain vulnerable to the ironists. That's because the church is question is exactly the kind of building that energized the city's grassroots preservation efforts in the first place. Of course, the activist preservationists of decades ago were hardly seeking to save such buildings as this church; many were seeking to prevent them from being built at all (at least in an urban context).