In 1958 Wallace K. Harrison combined modern technology with Gothic tradition and produced a transcendent building. His design places 20,000 chunks of glass, dalle de verre, in the concrete panels forming the building’s side walls. Light shining through the dalle de verre produces a startling beautiful impression. Harrison remarked “Have you ever thought what it would be like to live inside a giant sapphire?”.
Preserving this internationally-‐recognized iconic building is the Fish Church Conservancy’s objective. In 1958 architects thought that being inert, dalle de verre and concrete would expand and contract at similar rates as temperatures changed. They were wrong. As temperature varies, cracks develop between the glass and concrete panels and water leaks in.
Architectural best practices, developed since 1958, surround the dalle de verre chunks by epoxy. The resulting glass panels are set into the concrete panels. Silicone caulking between the glass and concrete panels allows expansion without leaks. Preservationists followed these practices in the late 1980s to preserve the South wall. Preservation of the North wall is next.
The Highland Green Foundation raises funds for the Conservancy’s preservation work. The Foundation is a tax-‐exempt IRS 501 (c)(3) organization.
Fish Church Conservancy’s Project Team
Wes Haynes, President, FCC
Cris Harter, Highland Green Foundation
Jane Love, Highland Green Foundation, Archivist