Sacred space in brick boxes
Resembling an electrical substation more than a place of worship, the Central Christadelphian Church at 728 Church Street is one of the earliest works of the renowned Toronto firm John B. Parkin Associates. In 1947 brothers John B. and Edmund Parkin formed a partnership with John C. Parkin (no relation), then fresh from studies under Walter Gropius at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Together they set out to champion the International Style in Canada and build an integrated architectural and engineering practice modeled on U.S. firms Albert Kahn Associates and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
For the Christadelphian ecclesia, design partner John C. Parkin eschewed traditional church design to create an uncompromisingly Modernist building: two flat-roofed rectangular blocks in an overlapping L formation. This arrangement made the best use of the the small, sloping, wedge-shaped site and sheltered the entrance court inside the long curve of Church Street. Walls of red brick are flat and unadorned, save for a discreet waffle pattern on the prominent east facade, and mostly blank. Additional privacy was ensured by positioning the glazed areas well above the sidewalk level.