25-Year Award to Chapel of St. Ignatius

John Hill
27. June 2022
Photo: SaintIggy, cropped from original at Wikimedia Commons

Serving as the main chapel for Seattle University, the Chapel of St. Ignatius was designed by Holl with the concept "a gathering of different lights," corresponding with the Jesuit order of the Catholic Church and finding form in the metaphorical "seven bottles of light within a stone box." The seven lenses projecting above the exterior walls introduce natural light that is colored by reflections from stained glass. Outside, these "bottles" are visible above the tilt-up concrete walls, glowing at night in various colors to express "a unity of differences gathered into one," in the architect's words. The small chapel fronts a shallow pool that is also referred to as a "thinking field" and features a bell tower at one corner. (One of the best resources for learning more about the Chapel of St. Ignatius is the Seattle University website, which explains how each clerestory corresponds to a focal aspect of Catholic worship, among other things, and provides a thorough virtual tour of the interior and exterior.) 

Last week's announcement from the AIA, made when the annual Conference on Architecture was being held in Chicago, describes the design for the chapel as "simultaneously forward-looking and firmly rooted in the past." 

The AIA’s Twenty-five Year Award is conferred annually on "a building that has set a precedent for the last 25-35 years and continues to set standards of excellence for its architectural design and significance."

Recent AIA 25-Year Award recipients (since the controversial "no-award" in 2018):
Photo: Joe Mabel, via Wikimedia Commons
The 2022 Twenty-five Year Award Jury:

  • Susan Blomquist, AIA, Chair, Payette, Boston
  • L. William Zahner, Zahner, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Ana Astiazaran, AIAS, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
  • Dominique Hawkins, FAIA, Preservation Design Partnership, LLC, Philadelphia
  • Eddie Jones, FAIA, Jones Studio, Tempe, Arizona
  • Gia Mainiero, AIA, Dattner Architects, New York
  • Pierre Roberson, AIA, AECOM, Detroit
  • Gail Kubik, Assoc. AIA, Finegold Alexander Architects, Salem, Massachusetts
  • Heather Young, AIA, Heather Young Architects, Palo Alto, California

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