A Pietro Belluschi Design

The renowned Oregon architect, Pietro Belluschi, designed Central Lutheran Church.   Many of the building’s significant features reflect his departure from 19th and early 20th century design, and exemplify his evolving new concepts for the use of natural light, space and regional materials to enhance spiritual and religious experience.   

Built in 1950, Central Lutheran is an outstanding example of early modern Northwest-style church architecture.  Innovative and expressive use of wood, glass and brick for both structure and exterior cladding are integrated into the design.  Textured brick combined with open framework and dark stained wood are significant, non-traditional features introduced by Belluschi.

Photo credit: Stephen Miller

Photo credit: Stephen Miller

The interior space is a reconfiguration of classic, gothic church architecture.  The most notable changes from the classical form are the relocation of the main entrance to the side of the building and juxtaposing the Sanctuary and the Fellowship Room to enhance the formation of community. 

As a leading, nationally recognized architect of his day, the many innovative features Pietro Belluschi incorporated into Central’s design influenced not only his own future work, but profoundly impacted the evolution of modern church architecture in America. 

 Central Lutheran was designated an historic site by the city of Portland in 1976.

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