Chapel of the Incarnation, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas
Recipient Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture - National Design Award
The Chapel serves the University students, faculty, and staff, and as a Public Oratory is open to all who wish to worship there. The building is sited on a wooded hillside in the center of the campus and was required to seat 500, yet retain the intimacy of the small worship space on campus which it replaced.
The community asked that the new chapel express a sense of journey; therefore movement and procession gave shape to the building. It is approached through the woods, across a generous porch to the narthex in which a grid of columns defines the baptismal area. At the font, one turns toward the main worship space, which is encircled by an ambulatory under a continuation of the low roof of the porch and narthex. The high roof over the seating area rises in steps formed by Verendeel trusses through which north light floods the altar area. The assembly is most intimately held by the round room, so shaped to gather the people around the altar and celebrant.
The Eucharistic Chapel is, like the baptistry, defined by four freestanding columns. It is, however, a closed space wrapped by a brick wall forming a private place for prayer and meditation. A lantern on the roof above the tabernacle allows a shaft of light to enter by day, and the glow of the oil lamp through the lantern marks the presence of the Eucharist on the campus by night.
Furnishings, sculpture, and art are the work of faculty of the University's Department of Art.