University Lutheran Church, Cambridge, MA


University Lutheran Church is located on quaint Winthrop Street off Harvard Square in Cambridge. It was built in 1950-51 and was the first church built in Cambridge after WWII, according to the church website. Although the exterior remains the same, there were substantial interior renovations in the mid 1990s and early 2000s. It also now houses the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.


The church sits on a long, narrow site and presents a varied, if somewhat awkward face to the street with multiple entrances and elevations. The charm comes from the architectural details including brickwork, glass block windows, and crosses worked into doors, walls, windows and a screen pattern on the tower above the entrance.

IMG_6718IMG_6722IMG_6712The architect was Arland A. Dirlam. According to his obituary, Dirlam was known for his church architecture and served as president of the Church Architectural Guild of America and director of the Society for Church Architecture. He studied civil engineering at Tufts University and architecture at Harvard. He designed six buildings on the Tufts campus and designed churches across the region in traditional and modern styles.


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