A Description of the New Church and Sunday School Buildings
The Moody Church News, April 1925, Volume 10, Number 4
By: Gustave Orth (of the Staff of Fugard and Knapp)
The Moody Church is ideally situated, facing Lincoln Park on the one side and LaSalle Avenue on the other. Transportation is of the best. Clark Street carries the greatest volume of north-and-south street car traffic, North Avenue is convenient for the east-and-west, while LaSalle Avenue is on our boulevard system.
The ground entrance is from Clark Street, and is midway between the church and the Sunday School building. To the right, in the church buttress, is the cornerstone, inscribed in incised letters and containing a sealed metal box. The entrance feature is a strong arch, topped by a tower, flanked by buttress piers, and containing supplementary arches over the entrance doors.
The lobby is a vaulted room 30 feet square, with brick walls, high vaulted ceiling and art marble floor. From this room open the Sunday School corridor and stairway, the stairways to the Church balcony, and the Church foyer.
The Church foyer is a long, curved room with arched ceiling and brick walls. On the left there ware groups of windows and doors opening onto the bank of stairs at Clark Street. On the right are the arched double doors to the main aisles of the Church. At the end of the foyer there is a stairway to the balcony, and a corridor forming the side aisle of the Church.
The Church proper is an enormous room. The ceiling will be as high as a six-story building, but the room is so long and so wide that the height will not be felt. The main floor will be a grand sweep of 2,270 seats, curved so the view will be satisfactory from any seat. The aisles are of generous width, floored with rubber. Above, and swinging around the rear and both sides is the balcony, carried on cantilever beams weighing 50 tons each. These beams make it unnecessary to use columns in the main floor for the support of the balcony.
The balcony contains 1,470 seats, graded and stepped so a good view is obtained from every seat. The entire balcony and its beams are one monolithic structure, poured in one operation and containing 6,300 tons of concrete and 150 tons of steel. Around the balcony is the ambulatory, or entrance aisle, opening into the Church thru a procession of flat-arched openings, and communicating with the four sets of stairs and the two fire escapes. At the choir end of the balcony there is a stairway from either side toward the speaker’s platform, allowing those in the balcony to reach the platform directly.
The front of the Church is one massive arch over the choir, flanked with groups of organ pipes. The arch forms a recess in which the choir is banked, with the baptistry recess at the top stepping in the center. The choir is divided from the platform by a carved oak rail. The speaker’s platform curves out into the auditorium, and is large enough to seat fourteen people. Below, and around this platform is another, which may be used for the communion tables and for a small orchestra. At the right is the organ console.
The Church walls above the balcony are penetrated by great lunettes, each containing arched windows which are doubled in thickness to keep out street noises. The curvature of the ceiling has been studied by the nation’s greatest authorities on acoustics, with the object of insuring that the voice can be well heard from every part of the room.
Below the main floor, and in the balcony floor, are ducts which will throw fresh air into the room through “mushrooms” under the seats. This air is washed before being blown in, and in cold weather it is heated.
Underneath the main floor is an assembly room which may be reached from either Clark Street, LaSalle Street, or from the Sunday School. This room is large enough to accommodate 1,500 people, and may be subdivided into smaller rooms.