The Chapel of Saint Ignatius

The Chapel of St Ignatius, Seattle University

This small chapel incorporates a variety of tactile materials: smooth tilt-up concrete walls stained warm brown, heavy carved wooden entry doors, textured plaster interior walls. The light entering the chapel through many different sorts of windows washes the walls with different colors.

The organic curves and play with light remind me of Le Corbusier's Ronchamp.

Perhaps the similarity is a bit too obvious.

This building feels a bit flimsy and somewhat gimicky. It might be that the architect is trying to do too much...that he is experimenting with everything...and some of the experiments are bound to fail.

I like the delicate metal cross above the entry and the way it seems to be speaking to the taller sculptural cross across the pool of water. The different shapes and colors of light create a nice effect, but the thickly textured white plaster that receives the light is not elegant.

The concrete wall on the north side has a notable crack running between several of the oval shaped nobs. I think these are decorative, but also bolting the wall panels in place (see the last few photos below)

Other photos of the chapel

crosses speaking to each other across the pool of water (small metal cross is hard to see in this photo)
crosses speaking to each other across the pool of water (small metal cross is hard to see in this photo)
delicate metal cross
delicate metal cross
crosses of light
crosses of light
carved wooden doors (photo courtesy of Jodie Little)
carved wooden doors (photo courtesy of Jodie Little)
 The cross of light behind the alter is a nice touch.   Note the textured plaster here on the ceiling
The cross of light behind the alter is a nice touch. Note the textured plaster here on the ceiling
cool corner detail! This is how I do my corners in my chipboard models.
cool corner detail! This is how I do my corners in my chipboard models.
CRACK!
CRACK!
what is that dripping from the nob?
what is that dripping from the nob?

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5 comments

Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

I actually think it is a beautiful building, and very peaceful inside. Of course, I'm biased as a Seattle U Alumni.


sarahd profile image

sarahd 8 years ago Author

my critique comes across a bit harsh. I like it too.


Fan 8 years ago

If you like this chapel, you might also like Matisse's chapel in Vence, France. Most people only think of Matisse as an artist, but Matisse himself regarded the chapel as his "masterpiece". The design is thoroughly modern, like St. Ignacious, and inside it is open and wonderfully light. He also designed the stain glass windows, works of art all by themselves. And if you want an interesting love story, check out how he came to be involved with the chapel. Tender and touching.

You can find out all about it by doing a little "google research".


nan 6 years ago

spell Ignacius right-- before you hold forth


sarahd profile image

sarahd 4 years ago Author

Hi Fan,

Sorry I am just answering now. Ill check out Matisse's chapel right now. - Sarah

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