Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Former Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist, aka St. Stephen’s Church needs to be saved

Built in 1915 by designed by architectural firm Coolidge and Hodgdon as the Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist, and later known as St. Stephen’s, it closed in the late 1960s.
It's located on East 57th Street and South Blackstone Avenue (5640 S. Blackstone), and has been an unoccupied half-ruin without any prospects for restoration. While there has been several attempts at finding resolution (demolition, usually), the stunningly beautiful church needs to be saved. It will require major structural revamping and a bus-load of money - not something someone with means would do for an ecclesiastical building.
It is imperative that the place not be demolished. We cannot afford destroying our architectural heritage just because we have no money while the government wastes billions of dollars as if it was its full-time job. 
The Tenth Church of Christ, Scientist, and later known as St. Stephen’s (Copyright Jim Watkins, 2010)

more pics here.
Now, I think an example of SCAD, in Savannah, Georgia, can be taken up by the University of Chicago - buy up architecturally-significant real estate, renovate, turn it into a space university might need and use regularly.
Personally, I would prefer to see religious buildings to continue as such, but if the adaptive reuse means it becoming a secular space - be it.


  1. This hurts my heart in the worst way. That edifice is extraordinarily beautiful. That dome; the texture of stone; that evocative pure grey. To see the inside, the ground. Unspeakably sad. It still holds it's dignity - but that makes it worse. Much as when someone who can in no way deserve it is made to suffer or is humiliated.

    If this building is destroyed and new churches are being built in the United States - the local Catholic populace ought to be ashamed of themselves. Far from being destroyed this should serve as an exemplar of what modern sacred architecture could and ought to be.

    Almost makes me want to take a vow to become an architect and build another in the same style to atone for it; for every piece of broken glass, every graffito on it's walls, everyone who walked past.

    - adulescens