Chapel of St. Ignatius

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Chapel of St. Ignatius
Seattle University Campus
Seattle, Washington
1996

Architect: Steven Holl

The Chapel of St. Ignatius is very small and the budget was extremely tight. Unfortunately, a large portion of the budget had to be used for a very expensive foundation and crawl space due to the soil conditions on the site.

The building started off as a load bearing masonry wall with granite veneer panels. This concept put the building over budget, so we changed the wall system to tilt wall construction, which is a wall system that is usually reserved for low budget warehouse construction. However, the architect conceived a stained finish for the exterior in lieu of granite veneer.

To accomplish the Architect’s desired appearance, the roof was constructed of bent steel pipes and metal deck. The roof steel was supported on the load bearing tilt wall concrete panels.

Architect Steven Holl describes the Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University very simply: a stone box, containing seven bottles of light. The design of the chapel incorporates skylights to create seven different qualities of light that correspond to different elements.

A scale model of the chapel is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.