Architect: Morris H. Whitehouse & Associates, 1932
This imposing Art Deco-style building has a
ziggurat-like shape successfully designed to inspire awe. The intricate brickwork on the outside was the result of a directive to make the construction of the church utilize as much labor time as possible. Check the year of the church's construction if this "make-work" philosophy doesn't make sense to you; this is one of the few non-apartment house buildings in Portland constructed during the Great Depression. (Coincidentally, the nearby Portland Art Museum is another of this rare breed.)
The massive face of the building gives little hint of what is inside - a central dome with a wheel-and-hub seating arrangement arranged around a sloping floor. This church works very well with its surrounding context. Three handsome apartment buildings were built just to the south of the church between 1930 and 1931, including the excellent Jeanne Manor Apartments (Bennes & Herzog), which contains Art Deco elements in its piers, windows, and entrance. The popularity of apartment buildings in this part of town is partly explained by nearby Portland State University's historic refusal to allow dormitories on its campus.