Scott Murray has authored a chapter in the new book Modernism and American Mid-20th Century Sacred Architecture, edited by Anat Geva and published this month by Routledge. Murray’s chapter presents a comprehensive history of a remarkable but short-lived and nearly forgotten building in Champaign designed by the noted architect Paul Rudolph.
Amid a resurgent interest in mid-twentieth-century brutalist architecture in general and the work of Paul Rudolph in particular, a small and short-lived but important building remains under-studied. Rudolph’s Christian Science Building was constructed in Champaign, Illinois, in 1965, and was demolished after just two decades in 1986. This chapter argues that the Christian Science Building—designed nearly contemporaneously with Rudolph’s Art and Architecture Building at Yale University—represents a key illustration of Rudolph’s approach to design and materiality at the height of his career. One of just a few religious buildings that Rudolph completed during his extensive career, the Christian Science Building remains a significant, though largely forgotten, example of mid-century modern architecture. This chapter examines Rudolph’s design, including the circumstances surrounding its commission, construction, and eventual demolition.