Inspiring Architecture of Seattle Churches

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple: a new book celebrates the architecture of houses of worship
Brangien Davis  |   December 2013   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION

Some of Seattle’s most spectacular architecture can be found in local churches, but those among us who go to church—perhaps only at this time of year—rarely explore beyond the familiar. A new book makes clear what a shame this is by showcasing the tremendous diversity found in church design. Inspired: Churches of Seattle, by Rick Grant (Documentary Media; $34.95), takes readers inside 52 area churches (including a few on the Eastside) and offers a brief history of each. But the real stars here are the shots by Seattle photographer Lara Swimmer, which show just how dazzling the interiors can be. We may have walked or driven by these buildings countless times, entirely unaware of the astonishing beauty within. The soaring ceilings of St. James, the rich Russian iconography at Saint Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral, the midcentury-mod take on stained glass at Gethsemane Lutheran, the stark splendor of St. Mark’s Cathedral, the sleek minimalism of University Unitarian—all reveal the great heights to which designers have gone to draw parishioners’ eyes upward. Most telling of the book’s success? It makes you want to go to church. 

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