Since 1991 Georgetown University has offered first-year and transfer students an "overnight experience" away from its Washington, D.C. campus with it ESCAPE program. Last year the school dedicated the program's new venue, the Calcagnini Contemplative Center, named for alumnus Arthur Calcagnini, who has endowed the program since its inception. Located in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, the Center's various buildings were designed by Dynerman Architects, a standout being the St. Ignatius Chapel. Alan Dynerman answered a few questions about the building.
Chapel at dusk/黄昏中的教堂
What were the circumstances of receiving the commission for this project?
Ours is a small firm and like many similar offices getting commissions is often serendipitous; the history of his project coming into the office was just that.
I was asked to be on a design jury at an architecture school here in Washington, D.C. Also on that jury was Alan Brangman, then the university architect for Georgetown University. At the end of the review he asked if, in the next week or two, I would come by his office and show him examples of our work. One of the projects I presented was a home in rural Virginia that I had done a few years earlier. An important component of the “farmhouse” is a large stone fireplace. At that time Alan was beginning the search for an architect to design a retreat center that a major donor to the university was funding. He felt the fireplace design and my approach to architecture would strike a chord with the donor and the Jesuit priest who overseeing the project – I was hired.
Entry from across courtyard/跨过庭院的入口
Please provide an overview of the project.
This chapel is a component of the Georgetown University Calcagnini Contemplative Center, also designed by Dynerman Architects, PC (see site plan at bottom).
At the core of Ignatian teachings and the Jesuit traditions are spiritual exercises that form the basis of the ritual of retreats within this order. Georgetown University’s program of retreats is quite varied; some are spiritual, others completely non- religious. Historically, the university has rented multiple venues to serve this broad agenda. In 2004, Georgetown purchased land in rural Clarke County, Virginia, to build a center to house all its retreats. A key component of the Center is the St. Ignatius Chapel.
View of nave/教堂正厅
为了支持这种质朴的贵族精神，色调简单而丰富。砌体墙–内外粉刷–以8“x 8”x 1 1 / 2“的平板玻璃穿孔；地板是现浇彩色混凝土。暴露的杉木框架和雪松板装饰着内部。屋顶是镀锌铝结构，棚和谷仓是该地区典型的样式。
What are the main ideas and inspirations influencing the design of the building?
The chapel was designed to serve small groups – up to 24 celebrants – and is conceived as an elemental pavilion. The design seeks to connect churches of the 16th century – the time of the founding of the Jesuits – whose manipulation of light served the order’s deeply spiritual rites and values with Clarke County’s rural vernacular.
In support of this rustic nobility, the palette is spare yet rich. The masonry walls – stuccoed inside and out – are perforated with 8” x 8” x 1 1/2” slabs of glass; the floor is poured in place stained concrete. Exposed fir framing and cedar boards complete the interior. The roof is galvanized aluminum, typical for the sheds and barns of the region.
View along altar shelf/祭坛
To what extent did the clients and/or future users of the building influence the design and the outcome of the building?
This is an odd question, at least from my point of view; the clients’ needs and agenda are at the heart of any good design. While Georgetown University is a Jesuit school the make up of students and faculty is quite varied. The chapel needed to serve all the religious communities at Georgetown – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc. The salient programmatic issue was developing a design that imparted a clear and strong sense of spirituality without being overly specific to any one religion. The simplicity of the design – plan, massing and palette – coupled with the manipulation of light affords spirituality without the banality often found in multi-denominational chapels.
View to tabernacle/壁龛
How would you describe the architecture of Virginia and how does the building relate to it?
In the past one could argue that “Virginia Architecture” encompassed some identifiable types, divided more along the lines of specific regions – the piedmont, the tide-water, urban, etc – than simply the entire state. But the technological and climatic forces that informed regionalism are no longer driving factors. Current and important sustainable issues notwithstanding, we pretend to have conquered climate and the technologies of building in California are no different from those in Virginia or Michigan. That said, the chapel design is informed by the architecture of rural buildings in Virginia’s piedmont – not as a quotation but in the choice of materials and simplicity of massing and plan.
Email interview conducted by John Hill.
Overall site plan/总平面图
总设计师/项目经理：Alan Dynerman, FAIA
项目设计师：Jennifer Carney, AIA (合同洽谈阶段)
照明工程：Dynerman Architects, PC
承包商：Howard Shockey & Sons / Walnutdale Building Company (joint venture)
摄影：Alan Karchmer Photographer
绘图：Dynerman Architects, PC
St. Ignatius Chapel
Location: Clarke County, Virginia
Client: Georgetown University
Architect: Dynerman Architects, PC Washington, D.C.
Design Principal/Project Manager: Alan Dynerman, FAIA
Project Architect: Jennifer Carney, AIA (Contract Administration Phase)
Project Team: Jae Ha
Structural Engineer: McMullan Associates
MEP/FP Engineer: Comfort Design
Lighting Designer: Dynerman Architects, PC
Contractor: Howard Shockey & Sons / Walnutdale Building Company (joint venture)
Construction Manager: Tom Keaton
Project Manager, Georgetown University: Chris Jordan
Photographs: Alan Karchmer Photographer
Drawings: Dynerman Architects, PC