Plaza architecture and grounds

The Original Mother Church

The Original Edifice of The Mother Church

The Original Mother Church is at the heart of the Christian Science Plaza and remains today much as it was when first built. The building was completed in 1894 in just 13 months' time. Designed by architect Franklin I. Welch of Malden, Massachusetts, the Church is reminiscent of the Romanesque architectural style. The exterior of the building is New Hampshire granite. The building seats about 900 people. Inside the sanctuary, frescoes stenciled by Italian artisans and finished off freehand decorate the upper part of the walls. Mosaic work around the lower part of the walls, the front platform, and the floor was done in the traditional style with each individual piece of stone set separately. The floor is white Italian marble. The pews, desk, and front of the organ are of red birch from eastern Canada.

Many of the stained-glass windows depict Bible stories. The windows were fabricated in Boston and are made with what is referred to as opalescent glass—a colorful translucent glass with a wide variation of shades. The artist used a technique called drapery glass to add depth and texture to scenery and clothing. The skin and hair tones were painted on and fused into the glass.

The organ was rebuilt in 1950 by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company to replace the original organ. It has 2,825 pipes that were relocated behind grillwork in the ceiling when The Mother Church Extension was built. The organ pipes visible in the front of the sanctuary are purely decorative.

The Mother Church Extension

Extension of The Mother Church

The large, domed Mother Church Extension was designed by Charles Brigham and Charles Coveney of Boston, and Solon Beman of Chicago, and completed in 1906 in just 23 months. The outside of the building is Italian Renaissance to match the architecture in Boston at that time. The dome is in the Byzantine style. The inside of the dome is purely decorative, with electric lamps simulating natural light. The exterior of the dome rises to more than twice the height of the interior dome, or 224 feet. Because of the small plot of land, the Church edifice was built upward instead of outward, so the sanctuary, which seats over 3,000 people, is located on the second floor.

The organ, built by the Aeolian-Skinner Company of Boston, is one of the largest in the world with a total of 13,384 pipes ranging from the size of a pencil to 32 feet in length. The organ is played from a four-manual console located in front of the platform.

Reflection Hall 

Sunday School Building on Boston Plaza

Reflection Hall, formerly the Sunday School Building, was completed in 1972 as part of the Plaza designed by I. M. Pei & Partners and Araldo Cossutta, Associated Architects. The building is at the west end of the reflecting pool and across the Plaza from the Church.

The lower level of the building contains a conference room, reception area, and storage rooms. A long ramp leads to the main activity area and a balcony. The auditorium and balcony provide seating for approximately 500 people.

Christian Science Publishing House

The Christian Science Publishing Society building

Completed in 1934, this nine-story, neoclassical-style building of limestone and granite was designed by Chester Lindsay Churchill. Originally, this 308,000 square foot building housed the publishing-related activities of the Church. Located in the building were massive printing presses, bindery equipment, and storage and production space.

In 2006, the Church announced that it would relocate its headquarters to this building. The relocation was completed in the spring of 2008. Care was taken with the renovation to be sensitive to new environmental opportunities. The renovations to the Church offices on floors 5-9 earned a LEED Gold certification as defined by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.™

Also located in this building are the offices of The Christian Science Publishing Society, the offices and newsroom of The Christian Science Monitor newspaper, and The Mary Baker Eddy Library.

Originally, the garden on the Massachusetts Avenue side of the building was enclosed by a 14-foot-high wall. During the construction of The Mary Baker Eddy Library on the lower floors of the building in 2001, a “wall-breaking” ceremony was held. Significant portions of the wall were removed to make the Library more accessible and welcoming to the public. The original front gate, however, was retained to maintain the powerful connection between the historic and contemporary aspects of the Library and its physical space.

101 Belvidere Street

Completed in 1972, the five-story building was part of the Plaza designed by I. M. Pei & Partners and Araldo Cossutta, Associated Architects. The building contains approximately 154,000 square feet of office space in addition to recording studios and maintenance shop space.

A major portion of this building is currently leased to Northeastern University for some of its administrative offices. Recording studios have been retained by the Church and are currently used by the Church and by Berklee College of Music. The Church also retains use of the maintenance shop facilities in the basement of the building.

177 Huntington Avenue

This 26-story high-rise, with approximately 250,000 square feet of office space, was completed in 1973 and designed by I. M. Pei & Partners and Araldo Cossutta, Associated Architects.

Views span from the Fenway to the Charles River to the South End and Boston Harbor. The building overlooks the reflecting pool from the east and is adjacent to the fountain.

The building is occupied by the Church and by third parties.

Fountain, gardens, and reflecting pool

Children playing in the fountain

Come stroll the Plaza, sit by the gardens of greenery and flowers next to the 670-foot-long reflecting pool, or splash in the refreshing children's fountain. Linden trees along Huntington Avenue and Belvidere Street provide welcome shade in the summer and are adorned with lights around Christmas and the New Year.