It seemed fitting indeed that an Earth Day bicycle tour of Pasadena should end at the Church of Scientology of Pasadena’s 58,084 square foot, newly certified LEEDS energy efficient headquarters building on South Raymond Avenue. After all, the four-story building was built (nearly 105 years ago) as a bicycle shop!
The April 16 tour was led by a Los Angeles-based nonprofit called C.I.C.L.E., which had partnered with the City of Pasadena for the 2011 Greening the Earth event at Memorial Park, Armory Center for the Arts and along Raymond Avenue between Walnut and Holly streets. The celebration featured more than 80 exhibitors and drew in nearly 5,000 visitors.
Tour guide Felicia Williams of C.I.C.L.E. said that the 60 riders she led on the tour went by bicycle to four locationsÂ â€œwhere we looked at different sustainable projects in the city.â€
The Church of Scientology building, built in 1906 by Edgar Braley and known as the â€œBraley Building,â€ was the tour’s last stop.
Eden Stein, President of the Church of Scientology of Pasadena, greeted the riders when they arrived and led them to refreshments at the Church’s cafe and then into the Church’s chapel to explain the building’s throughly modern retro-fitting.
â€œThis building was purchased by 1,500 parishioners who raised the money for the renovations and the maintenance and upkeep of the building,â€ Stein told riders. â€œIt is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.â€
Church members reportedly spent $10 million to buy the historic building and $6 million more to restore it to its original luster. Over 4,000 attended the opening event in July, 2010.
Stein said that Church had carefully renovated four floors and the basement (it is beautifully decorated with stonework and woodwork which reflect the Craftsman style).
â€œThe Braley building used to be a produce market and a bicycle shop.Â The building later became Pasadenaâ€™s first electric automobile dealership and was designed by C. W. Buchanan who interpreted the Chicago-style detailing in the buildingâ€™s windows and decorative elements,â€ Stein recounted.
According to Stein, the Church uses the building today for ministering its religious services to its growing congregation and for serving the community through its various community outreach programs â€“ including, she noted, a local team which was sent to Japan to help with earthquake recovery.
Keith Miller, Publisher of Green Technology, explained to tour takers many of the exact details oif the renovation and the importance of the building’sÂ â€œimproved performance in metrics such as energy savings, water efficiency, C02 emissions reduction, and improved indoor environmentalÂ controls.â€
Clearly, the building’s features and history resonated with the bicyclists. A older building with a history of bicycles and electric cars being recycled into the epitome of sustainability? It seemed the perfect end for the tour.