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Mary Queen of Peace Church, Ulysses

Address: 804 N. Colorado, Ulysses, KS 67880 [map this location]
Phone: 620.356.1532
Website:

 
The Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church is a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture because it is a classic example of hyperbolic paraboloid architecture and probably the only triple-roof, lattice-type, hyperbolic paraboloid church in the world.

Each of the three roof structures of St. Mary's Church carries its own weight on two points. Basically, the church is built on six buttresses, two holding up two opposite corners of the three big twisted-square roof sections. Two of the roof sections are 35 feet square; the third is 50 feet square.

The structure is called a hyperbolic paraboloid because you always get a pair of hyperbolas in slicing the shell horizontally and a parabola in slicing it vertically. It is a cruciform, diamond-shaped shelter under three laminated wood shells twisted into forms that might be termed giant "potato chips!"

Seating capacity is 475; floor area covers 6,000 square feet. People can view the altar from three sides with no obstruction between the congregation and the altar from any part of the church.

Built in 1963 by the George Pitcher & Company, this unique style consists of a surrounding canted concrete base, three hyperbolic paraboloid wood roof structures, and continuous stained-glass windows between. The light entering the church is kaleidoscopic.

E-mail: doris@pld.com

Open daily 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Much information gathered from The Catholic Market, July-August 1965