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In the past decade, thousands of houses of worship have closed each year. But when the congregation leaves, what happens to the structures they leave behind? Join our discussion, where we will cover how these buildings are being adapted in new and creative ways.

$15 public
FREE for CAC members
Zoom Virtual Event (details to come)

Churches close for a variety of reasons – dwindling membership, changing neighborhoods, and disrepair, to name a few. The sites are packed with the handiwork of master craftsmen, including stained glass, ornate stonework, wood carvings and high ceilings. Today, many are being reimagined as residences, music venues, gardens, gymnasiums, luxury car showrooms and even bars. We’ll be looking at several former Chicago churches and how they have been transformed.


Joanne Linzer

Joanne Linzer has been a CAC docent for 20 years. She is certified for multiple CAC building, bus, and walking tours, and the River Cruise. Her professional work in immunology and her interest in architecture came together in a master’s thesis on the architecture of the immune response. Linzer enjoys educating people about the vital importance of architecture.


Dave  Utech

David Utech became a CAC docent “on a whim” in 2003 following his retirement from a career in school psychology. His longtime interest in architecture is a family matter, as Utech is the nephew of a Bay Area architect who trained under Mies van der Rohe, and the grandson of both a Chicago cut stone company’s draftsman and the chauffeur to the president of the American Terra Cotta Company in Crystal Lake, Illinois. He is Tour Director of Sacred Spaces in Downtown Chicago, the Merchandise Mart, and is certified to lead six additional CAC tours. He Co-Tour Directs Churches by Bus with Joanne Linzer.

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