Friday, November 7, 2008

Design Updates: Volume 7


Well, we're about 1/3 of the way through the bidding process, with the bids from general contractors due back on Wednesday, November 26th. We're very much looking forward to getting some hard numbers for our project. But while we wait for the completion of the bidding, I thought I'd do a brief post to show you the final chapel design as it's depicted in the construction drawings.

The final chapel design is somewhat different than options that had been previously considered, mostly due to cost concerns. Placing clerestory windows in the roof, in whatever manner proposed, was going to add significant unneeded expense, and so I long had the thought in my mind of simply having windows in the walls themselves. It turns out that my brother had the exact same thought, and on the first re-design try came up with exactly what we were looking for. Here are the exterior elevations...

From the South:

From the East:

From the North:

The design from the exterior is simple and yet clearly communicates that this is a chapel, and a different space from the rest of the home. All of the windows, even the circular window on the East side, are standard-sized Andersen windows (that is, they are offered in these sizes and shapes by Andersen, and are not custom windows, which keeps costs low). The idea with the windows on the North and South sides is that they enhance the feeling of verticality, due to their tall/thin shape, while also providing a rhythm for seating in the chapel, which would align with the gaps between the windows. These windows are also placed up high so that they let light in but don't provide distracting views to the outside. The bottom of each window is set at roughly 6 feet above the chapel floor.

Here is an interior section view looking to the East (click to enlarge):

Here you can see the final design of the "bump-out", or "mini sanctuary", on the East side. The re will eventually be an altar at the base, but the concept was changed from my previous idea so that the entire bump-out is open to the chapel space all the way up to the circular window (and contains the circular window). See this post, near the end, for some previous models I had done that differ from this design. I like this change as it provides another traditional design cue for Catholic sacred architecture.

To give some scale to the diagram above, I mocked up a figure, about 6 feet in height (or a few inches taller) to place in the diagram, along with an example of how such a figure would relate in height to one of the side windows, shown in light blue (click to enlarge):

The interior of the chapel will not be finished at first, to save cost, and also to allow further detailed design to make sure we get everything exactly right. I'll finish the interior myself, and in fact for some things I feel that I need to actually be in the space in order to determine the best approaches (like final placement of lighting).


John Curran said...

Inspired! Very beautiful design. I love how this has developed from the original ideas. The windows could even have stained glass added later, if one was so inclined.

I am curious as to how seating (pews?) will actually be placed within the chapel, as the interior seems narrow, although in a desirable way, emphasizing its height.

Brendan Koop said...

Good question, my brother has always shown the pews centered in the chapel (and you would walk around on either side), but I can't decide if I like that or if it would be better to have smaller pews or seats that are flush with the side walls (with a center aisle). It's one of those things that we'll have to see when it's built.

Curran_John said...

I've always liked churches with a center aisle, one enters and approaches the altar with the proper focus, even genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament. In this case though, I agree it may be a decision best made on location, to make best use of the more limited space of the home chapel.

Anonymous said... a small space chapel chairs work well..R. Geissler Inc. make beautiful and comfortable chapel chairs with plain or rush seats, with or without kneelers and book racks. In this way you could arrange the seating any way you wish such as facing the altar or facing each other as in a monastery choir for chanting the Hours. I use antique English chairs and find this works wonderfully for any type of service we desire

Curran_John said...

Here's the link:

Brendan Koop said...

Sorry, I've been out all last week in Switzerland (of all places) on a business trip, just saw these latest comments. Thanks for the information and the link, leads like these are invaluable! Chairs are definitely an option that we're open to considering.

evan koop said...

Looks great! I really like the new windows. Is there no indirect light filtering in to the push-out anymore? I had really liked that idea before.

Brendan Koop said...

Yes, the indirect light was removed for simplicity (in design and cost). But when it was proposed to bring the bump out all the way above the circular window I liked the idea as light will still filter down the wall and it will make the chapel feel larger and actually result in a real mini "sanctuary". But I agree the indirect light was a good idea.