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In the meantime


“Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die.” –Zorba, the Greek.

While the library design stewed (or was it me who was stewing?), other parts of Agincourt drew/distracted my attention. The city would have, for example, a full array of faiths and church buildings in a comparable range of styles. Demographically, the swath of states from Ohio to Iowa is rich with Methodism, so it’s natural for a town founded in the 1850s to have had a sequence of Methodist churches, increasing in size and services as the denomination evolved and the community grew. My familiarity with Methodist church architecture goes back more then ten years, when I sought to understand the so-called Akron Plan (more properly known as the Akron-Auditorium plan, but that’s the topic of another blog). The beauty of inventing an entire community is that I could design the 1920 church without necessarily knowing its predecessor. So I allowed myself to be diverted briefly by Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church.

The founders had set aside four “church lots” bracketing the core of civic life, the heart of government and learning. Distributed by lottery to the largest denominations, the Methodists had drawn northwest, where their first frame church had been erected, but the time had come for enlargement. Its site is nearly a city block, but one diagonally clipped corner suggested a plan based on a central octagonal auditorium. The scheme developed quickly one evening (on a splayed Qwest Communication envelope; I work best on junk mail and cocktail napkins) and grew during the following two years–it took that long to understand the basement and balcony levels. But I’m satisfied that Asbury is, indeed, a typical full-blown Akron-Auditorium plan, perhaps the last of its species. 


What this dance with the Methodists had taught me, however, was my degree of dependence upon plan. I can feel the elevations but I cannot see them yet. Give me time or advice…or both.

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