March 2017

Architecture: Structure

Exterior

The church exterior is formed of Bedford stone and designed reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance architecture style. Twin Gothic bell towers (on the north and south ends of the structure) raises impressively above all other structures.

Originally the top of both towers were domes made of copper, sitting in four roman columns. The domes would be illuminated by the reflective rays of the rising sun. That's why Corpus Christi was known as "The Beacons of the South Side." Unfortunately the upper portion of the towers, which includes the copper domes, was removed for structural reasons.

A series of stone steps lead from the street toward the three majestic bronze doors that open into a vestibule of tile and marble.

Interior

The building, similar to a skyscraper, is made up of a steel-skeleton frame construction with column-free spans, providing an open and unobstructed view throughout the interior.

Groined Vault Ceiling

The interior ceiling is known as a groin vault or groined vault (also sometimes known as a double barrel vault or cross vault) and is produced by the intersection at right angles of two-barrel vaults. The word "groin" refers to the edge between the intersecting vaults.

The groin-vaulted ceiling is made up of an estimated 500 octagon shaped plaster tiles suspended from the metal frame above originally by horsehair wire. It has since been replaced with steel cables.

Semicircular Apse

The Apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome. The term is applied to a semi-circular or polygonal termination of the main building. The semicircular apse is position above the high altar. At Corpus Christi the Apse has a unique and complex diamond-shape relief that appears to move upward towards the heavens.

 

Corpus Christi Catholic Church • 4920 South King Drive, Chicago, IL 60615 • Office: 773-285-7720