Class of 1959 Chapel – Boston, Massachusetts - Atlas Obscura
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Boston, Massachusetts

Class of 1959 Chapel

The strikingly modern structure stands out among the brick buildings speckling Harvard University's campus. 

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie and funded by Harvard Business School’s Class of 1959, this chapel is a truly notable work of architecture. It appears almost like something out of a sci-fi film, a stark contrast to the traditional brick buildings that comprise most of Harvard’s campus.

Once you’re past the surprise of such an out-of-place sight and enter the interior, you’ll find you’ve stepped into a world completely set apart from the hectic daily bustle of Boston. Upon entering the chapel, you emerge on a curved second-level walkway overlooking a sunken water garden and sheltered by a glass pyramid. 

Continue along the walkway, and you’ll enter the main chapel, a cylindrical chamber made of plain concrete with simple shaker chairs for seating and almost all-natural lighting. If you sit and look at the wall for long enough, you’ll begin to notice rainbows as they light the walls, which is caused by the prisms built into the chapel’s skylights. 

The space is a perfect spot for quiet reflection. It’s even better during the winter, when the water garden provides a warm, tropical oasis away from the bitter cold outside.     

Know Before You Go

The chapel is free to enter, even if you are not a Harvard student. They host a variety of events and services; however, there are no officially posted times when the chapel is open. It's best to just show up.

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