Know to few as Church of Mary of the Assumption or Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, the church at 1111 Gough has been rechristened by San Franciscans as Our Lady of Maytag. (It also goes by the sobriquets “Our Lady of Perpetual Agitation” and "McGucken's Maytag.”) One look at its washing machine agitator-like roof and you will see why.
While the church’s saddle roof, comprised of eight segments of hyperbolic paraboloids, polarizes many locals, today Architectural Digest named the structure as one of the 10 most beautiful churches in the United States. It beat out other noted San Francisco places of worship like Grace Cathedral.
“Designed by Italian architects Pietro Belluschi and Pier-Luigi Nervi in the mid-1960s, the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption offers a modernist take on the Catholic tradition,” notes Architectural Digest. “Sweeping concrete geometries characterize the building’s exterior, while stained glass and triangular coffers pay homage to classic cathedral architecture on the interior.”
The church was also designed by local architects John Michael Lee, Paul A. Ryan, and Angus McSweeney.
One point Architectural Digest fails to mention is that Our Lady of Maytag also has a bawdy side for which it’s infamous. At a certain time of the day, the shadow the church casts looks like a female breast, a tidbit that has made many a young student at nearby schools giggle with delight.
Perfectly natural shadows aside, see why Our Lady of Maytag is one of the most beautiful churches in San Francisco.
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