Chapel of the Jesus Ethic | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Michael Locke

Chapel of the Jesus Ethic

The Chapel of the Jesus Ethic stands as the spiritual centerpiece of the Foundation of Niscience complex. Niscience (meaning "knowing") is a spiritual system of study that blends religion, philosophy, science, and the creative arts based on the teachings of Jesus Christ to inspire its members to live creative and spiritual lives.

The building was designed by Culver Heaton of Pasadena, a prolific architect who was best known for designing numerous churches throughout Southern California. It features a steeple vault roof with flared eaves. An expressionist Modern design motif, this roof type was briefly popular during the 1960s on church and commercial buildings.

As is traditional in Christian church architecture, the Modern steeple vault draws the eye upward to the heavens.

Two of the principal walls of the chapel are largely glass with a view to the surrounding gardens, in a Modern nod to the concept of visibly integrating the natural environment and the built environment. The same concept applies to the rear of the chapel, where glass walls expose the outside courtyard featuring a stylized statue of Jesus by sculptor Herb Goldman. Directly adjacent to the chapel is Mary's Garden, a meditation garden and the resting place of the two founders of Niscience.

The original Mary's Garden, located between the chapel and the complex's exterior wall, is visible behind the chapel altar. The remainder of the complex is composed of a series of meditation gardens, the 1994 auditorium building, and the 1980 residence of the founders, now occupied by one of the Foundation ministers.

Photo by Iwan Baan

Reiner-Burchill Residence (Silvertop)

Commissioned by industrialist and engineer Kenneth Reiner as his home, Silvertop was Lautner’s first major use of monolithic concrete as a sculptural as well as architectural component.