First Church of Christ, Scientist (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

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First Church of Christ, Scientist

13 Waterhouse Street

Cambridge, Massachusetts
First Church of Christ, Scientist - Cambridge, Massachusetts.JPG
15 March 2009
General information
Architectural style Classical Revival
Town or city 13 Waterhouse Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Country United States
Construction started 1924
Completed 1930
Technical details
Structural system 6 story (including basement) redbrick with copper clad dome
Design and construction
Architect Giles M. Smith of Bigelow and Wadsworth, later Bigelow, Wadsworth, Hubbard and Smith
Engineer Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company, dome

First Church of Christ, Scientist is an historic redbrick 6-story domed Christian Science church building located at 13 Waterhouse Street, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was designed in 1917 by church member Giles M. Smith of the noted Boston architectural firm of Bigelow and Wadsworth (later Bigelow, Wadsworth, Hubbard and Smith), who patterned it after Thomas Jefferson's The Rotunda at the University of Virginia and the Pantheon in Rome. Due to cost constraints it was built in two phases between 1924 and 1930. The basement and ground floor levels topped by a belt course comprised the first phase, while the additional four stories and the massive dome comprised the second and final phase. The dome itself was designed and built by the noted Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company, which in 1898 had done the reconstruction of the dome in The Rotunda at UVA and the construction in 1906 of the dome of the Mother Church Extension in Boston. Guastavino used its patented tile arch system consisting of Akoustolith, a porous ceramic material resembling stone, on the interior, with limestone on the exterior. The tile was manufactured at its plant in nearby Woburn. In 1933 copper flashing was added to the exterior of the dome in order correct a leakage problem. An oculus provided light to the interior. The first services in the completed building were held on April 30, 1930, and after becoming debt free, it was dedicated on May 23, 1937. [1]

First Church of Christ, Scientist is still located in the building, and is still an active branch of the Christian Science Mother Church.[2]


Coordinates: 42°22′42.42″N 71°07′15.16″W / 42.3784500°N 71.1208778°W / 42.3784500; -71.1208778