Riverside Church

Address: 480 and 490 Riverside Drive
Year Built: 1930
Project Status: Ongoing

Opening its doors in 1930, Riverside Church is an interdenominational church in Morningside Heights, situated within Columbia University’s campus.

Commissioned by John D. Rockefeller and designed by the firm of Allen, Pelton and Collens, the church’s nave is modeled after the 13th-Century Gothic Chartres Cathedral. Its bell tower goes far beyond the structural capabilities of traditional gothic cathedrals, as it is built on a steel frame the equivalent of a 22-story building, which makes Riverside Church the tallest church in the United States.

Scott Henson Architect became involved with Riverside Church in performing the visual inspection for the LL11 Cycle 8 façade safety report, which involved the use of industrial rope access to properly assess the conditions of the church’s bell tower and adjacent Martin Luther King Jr. Building. The repair program is currently underway.

In the meantime, we are also working with the property manager in weather-stripping the doors, as well as making the observation tower accessible for public use so that visitors may enjoy the views Riverside Church has to offer.