Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Congregational Hall

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Institution Name: Drury University
Original/Historic Place Name: First Congregational Church of Springfield
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1953original construction Stahl, Richard P.
Designer: Richard P. Stahl
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick, travertine, plaster
Roof: asphalt shingles, built up tar and gravel
 
Function:
ca. 1953chapel
ca. 2004-present (2006)classrooms (including art studios)
ca. 2004-present (2006)administration
 

Narrative:
Congregational Hall, formerly the First Congregational Church of Springfield, was purchased by Drury University in 1998, and currently houses Drury's Music Therapy program as well as offices and art studios. The church was designed by Springfield architect Richard P. Stahl, FAIA, and completed in 1953. Stahl's design indicates his role in introducing post-war modernism to the southwest Missouri architectural scene. The application of modernist abstraction to religious architecture is rare in the region, especially at such an early date. Especially notable is the curved sanctuary form and the narthex, faced on its exterior by a large travertine plane framed in light-brown brick. The use of these materials, as well as the cubic bell tower, relates the building to Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church in Columbus, Indiana, built just eleven years earlier. Drury's acquisition of the building underscores the school's commitment to the surrounding neighborhood as well as its roots as a church-related institution founded by Congregationalists.
 

References:

Clippenger, Frank W. The Drury Story. Springfield, MO: Drury University, 1982.

 

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Last update: November 2006