Project Information

Completed in 1952, Carr Memorial Chapel is Mies van der Rohe’s only constructed ecclesiastical design. Though it lies outside the boundaries of the IIT Academic Campus National Register Historic District, it is one of the most significant IIT campus buildings. Because of its simple design, it is often referred to by students as “the God box.”  The building is a simple, one story masonry bearing wall structure with glazed walls at the east and west ends. The interior is a column free space with exposed brick walls, black terrazzo floor and a travertine alter. Behind the alter is a curtain-covered wall with a stainless steel cross (the cross may be covered by the curtain for non-Christian services). A small support space is located behind the altar, housing a toilet room, storage and a sink. 

carr memorial chapel

The building had been little altered since its completion but had limited maintenance. Of particular concern was the leaking roof, deteriorated window walls and lack of accessibility. In 2001, Harboe Architects personnel, who were then working for McClier, prepared a building assessment report for IIT and provided recommendations for the restoration of the building. Limited funding meant that the building had to be restored in a number of phases.  In 2008, Harboe Architects completed construction documents for the full restoration of the chapel and the exterior restoration was completed in the summer of 2009.  The first phase of the interior restoration was completed in the summer of 2011. The second phase including the toilet room renovation was completed in the summer of 2015.

Title Carr Memorial Chapel
Work Completed Condition Assessment Report; Exterior & Interior Restoration
Date Completed Exterior: 2009; Interior: 2015
Client Illinois Institute of Technology
Location Chicago, Illinois