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Dirsmith Church Window Planning

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Film Identifier: F.2010-02-0201
Run Time
0h 16m 38s
Date Produced
1967 - 1968
Unedited footage of the North Shore Unitarian Church's 1965-1968 re-design and construction. Includes scenes of construction, rock extraction and installation, design meetings and the unveiling of a yet-to-be-installed stained glass window created by Bob White.
Construction of the first North Shore Unitarian Church building was completed in 1961 with John Holland as architect. In 1965, architect Ron Dirsmith (Dirsmith Group International Architects and Landscape Planners) was commissioned to design an addition to the existing small church. It took almost 3 years for this small congregation to raise the needed funds for construction which started in 1968. The landmark addition blended the original structure with a unique free flowing sculptural sanctuary, hearth room, minister's study, choir room, fellowship hall, covered entry arcade and five religious education classrooms. The addition was completed and first used on Easter Sunday in 1969. The windows by the late Bob White, sole creator and Master of Fused Glass, are an integral part of the spiritual experience in the sanctuary.

More information about the construction is available via the Dirsmith Group:

and a fascinating story about the Sculptured Fused Glass Wall and Windows: Story.html

At the time of construction filmmaker Rhodes Patterson was working for Container Corporation of America on a special commission from Walter Paepcke, founder and CEO of CCA, to create a series of documentary films on the creative individual in contemporary society. The footage shot was to be part of a series entitled "Great Ideas of Western Man". This was an outgrowth of Hutchins' and Adlers' "Great Books of the Western World" series of 54 volumes (now 60) originally published by Encyclopedia Britannica in 1952. Books that were chosen had to be relevant to contemporary societal issues, important in their historical context to reward re-reading, and be a continuing conversation about great ideas. Rhodes Patterson and the Paepckes decided to include Suzanne's and Ron's work in their "Great Ideas of Western Man" film series. Rhodes met Suzanne and Ron when they had returned from their 2 year odyssey as Fellow in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. They had just designed and built the famed Bubble House with Eldon Danhausen, sculptor, which became their first design studio at 1418 N. LaSalle Street. Rhodes began filming the Dirsmiths' design and construction of the highly sculptural Playboy corporate offices in the venerable Palmolive Building on North Michigan Avenue as well as the North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, Illinois and the historic City of Chicago and State of Illinois landmark, KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation near the University of Chicago. Rhodes also travelled with the Dirsmiths to Los Angles to document their firm's design and construction of Hugh Hefner's famed Grotto, Ponds and Pool environments at the Playboy Mansion West.
Main Credits
Patterson, Rhodes (is filmmaker)
Related Place
Deerfield (depicts)