Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: Broweleit Peterson Hammer Architects (firm); Crownover Construction Company, Incorporated (firm); Strand Construction Company (firm); Thiry, Paul, FAIA, Architect (firm); Trevor D. Abramson (architect); Lawrence Broweleit (architect); Steven Hammer (architect); David A. Peterson (architect); Paul Albert Thiry Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1961-1962

1 story, total floor area: 7,800 sq. ft.

3605 84th Avenue SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040-3610

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Building History

Seattle architect Paul Thiry (1904-1993) designed this church with a hovering thin shell concrete roof; this expressionistic element--composed of 16 hyperbolic paraboloids--covered a 3,700-square-foot, hexagonal sanctuary with seating for over 350. The sanctuary's south side faced a garden, while a view of Lake Washington dominated the northern exposure. Like many during the era, Thiry was experimenting with tilt-up concrete walls. Strand, Incorporated, served as the Building Contractor for the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, completed in 1962 for a budget of $193,000.

A brief notice in the Seattle Times on 07/15/1961 said of the new church: "The congregation of the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church will break ground for a $200,000 sanctuary at 11 o'clock tomorrow, after the 10 o'clock worship service. The church is at 3605 84th Av. S.E., on a seven-acre site. Paul Thiry, architect for the building will take part. Orman Nugent, chairman of the Church Building Council, said the building is expected to be ready for occupancy on Easter Sunday, April 22. The church was organized May 24, 1953, with a charter membership of 129 persons. Present communicant membership is 591." (See "Church to Mark Start of Building," Seattle Times, 07/15/1961, p. 3.)

Building Notes

Tel: 206.232.5595 (2015).


This church's thin concrete shell, hyperbolic paraboloid roof was one of the most daring forms developed by Thiry. The roof was originally sheathed with Neoprene-Hypalon elastomeric roofing supplied by Gaco Western, Incorporated of Seattle, WA. This coating was removed during a renovation that finished in 2001 and replaced with a copper roof. Broweleit Peterson Hammer Architects of Lynwood, WA, supervised the renovation, while Crownover Construction was the Building Contractor.