About the cover

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At the intersection of William Cardinal O’Connell Way and Staniford Street (25 Staniford St) in Boston sits the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center. Designed by Architect Paul Rudolph in 1962, it opened in 1971.

The chapel was added late in the planning process; the Lindemann Center building itself forms part of the unfinished Government Service Center (1962-71). The chapel, which includes a balcony and seating area not internally connected, is sculpted from curved wall surfaces made of Rudolph’s signature cast concrete. This space was intended to be a private, meditative area in the center of a monumental modern building, set on a busy public square in a rapidly growing city. Rudolph, he designed the space to have therapeutic benefits for patients.

Located next to what were originally inpatient areas, the chapel was to serve as a quiet respite for patients, staff and visitors. Services took place regularly. A cross still hangs over the altar and an area where a priest or service leader can change clothes is off to the side. Kneelers throughout suggest Christian assumptions in the design, and a small alcove in the rear of the space might have been designed or used for confessions. Natural light filters through the skylight over the altar, while indirect artificial lighting behind the altar contributes to a spiritual atmosphere.

In 2009 patients who had been cared for at the Lindemann building moved to the Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center. Today the Lindemann chapel is locked accessible only during occasional services led by a volunteer staff member in the building. Memorial services also occasionally take place in the space.

Photos of the chapel can be found here.

© Wendy Cadge, All Rights Reserved