Marshall medical center chapel
The hospital requested the designer to create a Chapel by renovating space in an older portion of the hospital.
The Program presented by the Hospital Chaplain was to create a “quiet place” atmosphere; and he requested incorporation of water as a soothing element in the space. Two private Prayer Rooms included.
The design solution was to integrate the different dimensions of the former spaces into a single, cohesive space by the use of an undulating wall which wrapped around a dome in the ceiling. Using curved elements creates a calming effect for family members or friends by contrast to the hard edge spaces and machines normally found in a hospital, particularly the number of machines and seemingly random cords and cables, or “wires” that tend to surround the seriously ill.
The use of a shallow dome illuminated with a color suggesting a night sky conveys the feeling of access or connection to God in Heaven through this “hole” in the Chapel ceiling. The lighted Cross and Altar serve as focal point but are rotated off of the center of the space to allow a head-on view as one walks down the aisle. This also allows for the built-in wall fountain to be visible off to the side.
Pews are rotated to focus on the Cross but are anchored by a saw-toothed portion of wall so each has a more rooted, secure feeling. Stepping the ceiling down as you approach the Altar reinforces the pew locations and contributes to the “quiet/intimate” feeling in the Altar Area. The molded wood shell of the pews relates the furniture to the curves of the wall for consistency in the space.
Prayer Rooms are located so they can be entered without disturbing people in the pews. Each Prayer Room features a fold-down kneeler which appears as part of the wall when not in use.
Stained glass in two exterior windows and the Chapel entry door and sidelights was commissioned by the Hospital from an Ecclesiastical Glass Artist and was designed to complement the curves of the space.