01/17: Sacred Space

A belated post for yesterday, January 17th, my mother’s birthday, and an opportunity to show photographs from a trip to Seattle and a stop at the Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University. It was designed by Steven Holl Architects and built from 1994-1997. It is an amazing space, curving ceilings and hidden sources of light. From the universities website:

“Architect Steven Holl chose “A Gathering of Different Lights” as the guiding concept for the design of the Chapel of St. Ignatius. This metaphor describes Seattle University’s mission and it also refers to St. Ignatius vision of the spiritual life as comprising many interior lights and darknesses, which he called consolations and desolations.

Holl conceived of the chapel as “seven bottles of light in a stone box,” with each bottle or vessel of light corresponding to a focal aspect of Catholic worship. Light passes through each bottle in a specific area of the building to define physical and spiritual spaces with pools of clear and colored light.

During the day each part of the Chapel of St. Ignatius will glow with colored light from two sources. Light bouncing off color fields painted on the back of suspended baffles creates a halo of light on the surrounding walls, while light passing through colored glass lenses in the exterior windows and openings in the baffles casts onto the chapel walls and floor. Interior lighting will create a similar effect at night, transforming the chapel into a beacon of multicolored light radiating outward to the campus and city.”

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photographs and sketches by the author


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