Even though this building is on the list of National Historic Landmarks it is not an easy accomplishment to see the interior of this church. Only open to the public on the first Sunday of each month, and during special events, it takes conscious effort to make note of the one day and time each month that it is open freely to the public.
The two months of the year that the building is at its most beautiful are in April and May, when either one of the two varieties of Wisteria are dripping along its exterior walls.
The First Church of Christ Scientist was designed by architect Bernard Maybeck in 1910. Maybeck studied architecture at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and one can clearly see the influences that Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural history had in creating what many consider to be one of Maybeck’s finest Arts and Crafts accomplishments.
Inside the building is one great hall, a side chapel, a community room and a few smaller rooms that serve as nursery and office. Throughout the building there are a lot of little touches that made it unique for its time – the stencil work, the use of concrete with its combination of unpainted wood walls and beams, and the industrial windows that used Belgian hammered glass to filter the light and images coming in from outside.
The community room features a fireplace, an important part of a Maybeck building, which is still used by the members of the congregation.
The architectural tours are put on by The Friends of the First Church
First Church of Christ Scientist
2619 Dwight Way at Bowditch
Berkeley, CA 94704