Stanford White of the prominent New York City architectural firm McKim, Mead and White designed the church, which was constructed in 1890-92. The design was influenced by White's Italian travels; the building is modeled on an Italian church that has been described as Lombardo-Romanesque - a basilica with an adjacent tower.

    John LaFarge (1835-1910), an American artist who developed the opalescent glass that was later extensively used by Tiffany, designed the 17 stained-glass windows in the Judson Memorial Church - the biggest collection of large LaFarge windows in one place in the country. They were installed between 1892 and 1915, as funds became available; the last one was installed five years after LaFarge's death by his trusted craftsman, Thomas Wright.

    Particularly during the pastorates of Bob Spike (1949-55) and Howard Moody (1956-92), Judson Church became known as a venue for avant-garde arts and a foe of art censorship. These activities continue today, as Judson makes its facilities available to a wide variety of artists in dance, theater, music, and visual arts of diverse styles.