Frank Lloyd Wright was often known for his nature-inspired, humanistic works of architecture, but while his design for Milwaukee’s Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church certainly retains some natural curves, it looks completely alien.
Wright was inspired by Greek Orthodox symbology in his design for the church, incorporating the symbols into the structure itself. The body of the church is a shallow, rounded dome that echoes the domes found in Greek Orthodox chapels, all supported by a quartet of support struts that form the simple Greek Orthodox cross. The Greek Orthodox Cross is again incorporated in a number of the smaller details such as designs on some of the interior features and cutouts on the exterior. The interior of the saucer chapel mirrors the exterior shape and is illuminated all around the rim of the ceiling and by the semi-circular windows that run the circumference of the space.
The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church was designed just a few years prior to Wright’s death in 1959 and was not actually finished until after he passed away. The church, while extremely modern, is almost all circles and soft curves which was clearly Wright’s intention. Yet the finished product does look, more than anything, like a UFO.
What Wright would think of this alien reading of his work is unknown, but we can pray that he would find it as delightful as everyone else.
Know Before You Go
The building is sadly being allowed to decline; it seems the Church is using the building's landmark designation as an excuse to label basic, necessary cosmetic maintenance as difficult. The blue roof is visibly faded. The concrete is visibly cracking and stained. Despite this, there are regular church services still occurring in the building.