Kansas Architecture: Reflections of Cultures will meet at the Kinsley Library from 2-5 p.m. on March 12, at the Kinsley Library.
Jay M. Price, Ph.D., will be speaking on two topics: Sacred Prairie and Metallic Prairie. The group will also have an opportunity to tour USD 347 new arena/shelter dome.
Price is the chair of the department of history at Wichita State University where he also directs the public history program. He has served on the boards of the Kansas Humanities Council and the Kansas State Historic Sites Board of Review. He is currently on the board of the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum and the University Press of Kansas.
“Buildings are like books in stone and wood,” said Price. “You just have to know how to read them. Once you get a sense of what they can say, there is a real richness to what you can learn.”
Sacred Prairie will discuss how religious architecture reflects the various communities of faith that have shaped Kansas. From the humble white frame church to the great cathedral to the ultramodern extravaganza, each house of worship is a window into a whole world view. These ideas provided the inspiration for Price’s book, Temples for a Modern God, which is about religious building in the postwar years.
“I’ll be introducing key terms used in religious architecture and some of the main concepts,” said Price. “This will enable participants to apply their knowledge to the buildings they encounter every day.”
Price’s second topic, Metallic Prairie, will highlight the buildings that are hidden in plain sight.
“We tend to look at the “pretty” buildings and forget what the more ordinary structures tell us” said Price. “It is time we appreciate the rich story that metal buildings teach us. After all, the “typical” Kansas farm is more likely to support a curved metal machine shed than a red wooden barn.”
From the oil field to the air force base, from new structures downtown to century-old rural landscape, Price believes that metal buildings are an unappreciated and unnoticed part of the Kansas built environment. This presentation will encourage the audience to notice the variety and range of metal construction, and reflect about what that says about those who live on the Great Plains.
The afternoon’s presentations will end with USD 347 Superintendent Bob Davies conducting a tour of USD 347’s monolithic dome-shaped gymnasium/storm shelter. This architectural construction is becoming popular in Kansas because it is economical, sustainable, and provides the community protection in the event of a weather emergency.
The Kansas Architecture series is being partially funded by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization that connects communities with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life.
For more information about the series and to access the online registration, visit the library website, www.kinsleylibrary.info . Registration can also be done at the library (208 E. 8th St.) or by phone (620-659-3341). Library hours are: from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday and Wednesday; 9-11 a.m. and 1-5 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; and from 1-5 p.m. Saturdays.