Posted in projects on December 11, 2014 11:50 am EST

Neo-Gothic Chapel Joins Campus of North Carolina University

A new 10,000-square-foot chapel designed by Clark Patterson and Lee of Raleigh, N.C., blends with its campus surroundings while proffering an iconic tower feature.

Grace Chapel, Lenoir-Rhyne University. Images courtesy of architectural firm Clark Patterson and Lee.











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By Church Designer Staff

Planning for a chapel on the Lenoir-Rhyne University campus in Hickory, N.C., began in 2009 with the appointment of an exploration committee charged to define how a chapel would extend and enhance the mission of the university.

This preliminary committee considered possible design concepts, evaluated ways the chapel would be used, and explored the functions of a chapel both by the university and by those beyond it. In time, the architectural firm of Clark Patterson and Lee of Raleigh, N.C., was selected as architects for the chapel.

Statesville Stained Glass Co. of Statesville, N.C., provided the 26 lower stained-glass windows in the nave, which depict selected scenes from the life of Christ.

The 425-seat chapel was a part of $65-million campaign, and the Institutional Advancement office immediately discovered great success in receiving contributions for what was to become Grace Chapel.

The Chapel Design Committee’s first task was the development of a preliminary design concept. Both the Chapel Design Committee and the administration enthusiastically approved the architect’s design. Some adjustments occurred over time in the design: however, those changes never altered the basic footprint of the building itself.

Vision & detail

The design of Grace Chapel is modified Gothic. Moderate in size, the chapel was designed to meet the needs of the campus community primarily. One of its distinctive features is its volume of space. For instance, the interior ceiling is 53 feet from the floor to the ceiling peak. In addition, the interior is arranged in a cruciform floor plan so that, if viewed from above, the chapel would appear to be in the form of a cross. Because the university is an institution of higher learning of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA) in America, the chapel embraces the worship style of the ELCA. However, it also honors the ecumenical traditions of other denominations.

There are two altars in the chapel. The main altar is the focus for major services of worship and is carved from oak. The Latin phrase on the front apron of the altar, “Jesu Bone - Pastor,” is translated Jesus the Good Shepherd. The marble altar, located in the Daily Eucharist Chapel in the right tower, will be used when the Holy Eucharist is celebrated each day.

Many artisans and craftsmen were involved in the construction of Grace Chapel. The basic construction was entrusted to Looper Construction Co. of Hickory. Statesville Stained Glass Co. of Statesville, N.C., provided the 26 lower stained-glass windows in the nave, which depict selected scenes from the life of Christ. Also, the large, 12-foot window above the pipe organ was the work of this studio.  continued >>