Architecture Bookstore Finds New Life

There was much tumult in Chicago’s architecture and literary communities a couple of years ago when the Prairie Avenue Bookshop closed its doors.  The fantastic readery at 418 South Wabash Avenue was one of just a handful of architecture bookstores left nationwide when it shuttered its doors in August of 2009.

Willow Chicago Ministry Center

Today, the building that was once the haunt of famous architects, skyscraper tourists, and students in training is the Willow Chicago Ministry Center.  This is part of Willow Chicago, a branch of Willow Creek Community Church in suburban South Barrington.

Willow Chicago Ministry Center

For those of you who don’t know, Willow Creek is Evangelical, and non-demonimational.  It’s also, depending on how you tally things, either the largest or third-largest church in America.  According to Wikipedia, it is widely considered the most influential church in America.

More people go to Willow Creek to worship on Sundays than live in most towns in the Midwest.

So what does a megachurch want with a microspace in the Loop?  As its name implies, it’s a center for members of Willow Chicago to gather when they’re not at a service.  Willow Chicago holds its weekend services at the Auditorium Theater, which is understandably unavailable the rest of the week.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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