For this private chapel located on a ranch in northern California, the client had just two requests. First, they wanted the chapel located between a small pond and their 15-acre vineyard. Second, they requested the building be cruciform in plan.
The nave of the chapel is aligned on an east-west axis, facing east. The transept of the building is angled to face the pond. In Latin, root of the word "cruciform" is"crux" or cross. In contemporary usage, a crux is "the basic, essential or central feature; a critical point". The basic shape of the cross, and meaning of the word "crux" informs the design of the chapel.
The east end of the chapel is punctured by 12 vertical apertures, which are positioned to capture the rising sun at the hour of the morning Mass on the feast days of the 12 Apostles. On the opposite wall, the morning light strikes and deforms the wall. These deformations mark the locations of the 12 Stations of the Cross, which depict the condemnation, suffering and death of Jesus.
A place for praying, the chapel marks the space between the spiritual and corporeal; between heaven and earth.
A different version of this project was ultimately built, but it did not incorporate this design thesis.
Location/ Redding, CA
Status/ Design in 2009. Unbuilt project
Role/ Design Architect
Cost/ approx. not determined