Lake Avenue Congregational Church
The newest home of a Pasadena congregation founded in 1896, the Lake Avenue Congregational Church towers over the Pasadena (210) Freeway. The fan-shaped building was completed in 1988 to join other, older buildings as the church's new center of Christian worship in a modern show-stopping style. It is impressive from the outside, with its gray concrete curves arcing around a recessed, stained glass-topped entry reached via a wide stairway; a prominent white cross is thrust skyward by four slender concrete pillars, beckoning all comers to enter the sanctuary. The interior is equally dramatic, combining elements of the performance stage and the concert hall with the traditional pulpit and pews to create an experience both religious and theatrical.
Designed by Barasch Architects & Associates, the church has high ceilings that appear to float free from the walls, a movie palace-like balcony, and a large, curved chancel holding the pulpit and pews for the choir. Above the chancel is an enormous 7,000-pipe organ, the focal point of the whole interior and the reason for the careful acoustical engineering that went into this project. Holding over 4,300 people, the Lake Avenue Congregational Church is one of the largest houses of worship in Southern California and offers its members a Sunday experience on par with taking in a show in one of the most glamorous theatres on Broadway.