Christopher Hunter – ‘Architecture of Early South American Church Building’



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Christopher Hunter, a graduate student in the Department of Architecture, presents “Introduction of the Architecture of Early South American Church Building 1880-1920.”

The presentation was given at “Natural, Built, Virtual,” the 19th annual Texas A&M College of Architecture Research Symposium, which was held Oct. 23 in the Langford Architecture Center’s Preston Geren Auditorium. The daylong session showcased research and creative work by college faculty and, for the first time, doctoral students.

More on Natural, Built, Virtual here:

Project Summary:

The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the architecture of the early southern
African American church building constructed between 1880 and 1920.
The African American church experience is a continuously evolving part of the American experience. Many of the current African American churches were organized in the early to mid-
19th century.

After the Civil War, many of these organized congregations began constructing places of worship, primarily throughout the southern United States, either within an urban or a rural setting. Many of these church buildings eventually became the center of spiritual, educational, political, and cultural life for millions of people, continuing to this day.

These church buildings often hosted famous orators or were witnessed to historical events, but these buildings have not received the academic attention necessary to inquire, study, and document their architectural relevance to the people they serve as well as their place in a community. These buildings should be considered just as significant as the people and events they housed.

This paper will present a brief example one such relevant building in the First African Baptist Church (FABC) of Savannah, Georgia. Organized in 1773, FABC is historically considered one of the oldest continuous churches in North America. The paper will introduce the building’s design intent, construction methods of the time, as well as its historical and contemporary place within the local Savannah community.

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