ST. JOSEPH CHAPEL
30 SPRING 2020 | context | AIA Philadelphia
PHOTOS: DON PEARSE PHOTOGRAPHERS, INC.
The goal of these alterations was to improve the intimacy of the existing chapel, improve accessibility for participants at mass, and improve the thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort throughout the worship space. Lighting and acoustics were identified as characteristics of worship that were “getting in the way” of the worship experience. The existing lighting of the chapel was noted as being especially weak in the side aisles, and although LED lamps were installed in many of the existing light fixtures, a more thoughtful approach to lighting throughout the chapel was explored. The design solution included the addition of a corona above the new altar - a “crown” that reinforces the sense of communing and creates a more intimate lighting scenario for smaller daily celebration of mass and prayer. In conclusion, the design improvements sensitively reshaped the transept area to create a space within which the Sisters can gather around the altar and experience an intimate and unifying sense of worship, while maintaining and enhancing the beauty and splendor of the chapel; providing for expanded capacity of 400 or so when needed; providing air conditioning quietly and unobtrusively; and improving lighting, acoustics, accessibility, and seating comfort. n