Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist

  Photo by   John Zacherle

Photo by John Zacherle

55 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago
Harry Weese, 1968

Perhaps Harry Weese's most recognized building in downtown Chicago, Seventeenth Church’s iconic structure was designed to maximize a six-sided site at the intersection of three major streets.  The structure is comprised of seven levels, with the main auditorium situated on levels four and five.  The primary entrances to the church are at grade level, which actually is level three of the structure. The Church’s auditorium is styled after the layout of a Greek amphitheater, capturing the democratic spirit of the congregation.  Skylights and several levels of clerestory windows fill the auditorium with natural light, providing a peaceful oasis for prayer and worship amid the hubbub of the city.  The travertine marble walls and wood podium in the auditorium are absent of traditional religious symbols, focusing attention on two sacred texts engraved into the travertine wing walls on each side of the podium. (Adapted from the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist website)