Christ the King is Cork's most innovative church and although Turner's Cross is a little out of the way, this refreshing and surprising essay in modernism is worth a visit by anyone interested in architecture. Designed by Chicago architect Barry Byrne in collaboration with J.R. Boyd Barrett, this elliptical shaped church was built in 1930.
A tall narrow figure of Christ spreads his arms over the twin entrance doorways with his body forming the pillar between them. Constructed by American sculptor John Storrs, the figure has an almost Cubist feel, which is not surprising for the time. When built the church was criticised for lack of ornament and devotional atmosphere. The interior is very simple, although subsequent additions have taken somewhat from the original elegance.
Designed to hold a congregation of 1200, the church is of reinforced concrete and has neither pillars nor side windows. Light enters through tall narrow windows at either end that are set at an angle. These windows are said to have inspired the architect of Coventry Cathedral to do the same. Originally the artificial light sources were completely hidden, and likewise the exterior no longer appears as it did. Although the slightly battered and weather-worn cement was originally white, this church has lost very little of its original impact.