Immanuel Lutheran Church – Addition Progress

It was a bit serendipitous that our move to Giddings coincided with Immanuel Gidding’s pressing the gas pedal on their “Ring the Bell” campaign to build a larger narthex for the church. While my eye is naturally drawn to the classic profile of a white-frame church building with a steeple, I do appreciate some mid-century mod church buildings. This one is definitely in that category.

Immanuel was designed by Eugene Wukasch, a fairly prolific Wendish architect from Austin who was responsible for a number of Lutheran churches in Texas. Other churches he designed include the now-demolished Prince of Peace Lutheran Church that was on Oltorf Street in Austin, Gethsemane Lutheran in Austin, the now-closed Messiah Lutheran Church on Cameron Road in Austin, Our Redeemer Lutheran in Dallas, and Saint John’s Lutheran in Lincoln, Texas.

Unlike the famed J. Reily Gordon, whose Texas courthouses (mostly) have a recognizable common style, Wukasch’s churches are a bit all over the map. Immanuel Giddings and Saint John Lincoln were built within a few years of each other, but Saint John’s building has a much more traditional/conservative design than Immanuel’s. Prince of Peace Austin and Messiah Austin were much simpler buildings, and Gethsemane Austin and Our Redeemer Dallas are… well… much more radical in their design.

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to see the renderings of what Immanuel will look like once the expansion is complete. While Wukasch isn’t around to see the expansion (he died in 2021 at the age of eighty) I think he would be pleased. The iconic bell tower will be reconstructed in front of the new narthex, and the ground-to-steeple stained glass will be reinstalled. The panels above the door with the wording of Exodus 20:24 (“In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee”) will be relocated over the new door. And overall, the expansion uses the same “language” that the original building uses.

It occurred to me earlier this week that I have a unique opportunity to document the progress of this project. So… my plan is to post semi-regular updates showing what’s happening here. Here’s the first installment of that…

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

I missed several critical things before this point… the stained glass was removed from the bell tower a year or so ago, and the steeple and bell were removed from the tower the previous week while I was out of town.

When I came by the church on this day, crews were removing the sidewalk in front of the church.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Sidewalk’s gone now, and the grass has been dug up too. Oh… and I noticed that the innards of the steeple are hanging out on the south side of the church!

Thursday, June 15, 2023

The area that was dug up to remove the sidewalk and grass has been (mostly) filled in, probably in preparation for pouring the slab for the expansion. The panels with the verse from Exodus have also been removed. These photos also feature a guest appearance of some really awesome clouds.

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