Repairs planned for modernist architectural landmark

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Organizers say they've raised more than $160,000 toward the first of needed repairs on a 75-year-old church that launched a southern Indiana city's modernist architectural legacy.

The money will pay for restoration of a skylight leaking rainwater into the sanctuary of First Christian Church in Columbus, according to The Republic in Columbus.

The church was designed by architect Eliel Saarinen, the father of famed architect Eero Saarinen, and was completed in 1942. It was the first of the city's 78 examples of Modernist architecture, including several designed by the Saarinens.

The church’s skylight focuses natural light on the limestone cross at the front of the sanctuary and is considered a signature feature of the church that also has a 166-foot-tall free-standing bell tower. Church leaders say leaks have damaged the church's organ pipes and ceiling.

Organizers expect they'll need at least $1 million to cover all the church's needed repairs.

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