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Chapel of St. Joseph

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A place of pilgrimage.

After years of using a 1937 gymnasium as a makeshift chapel, The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe transformed it into a permanent worship space.

Over 75% of the former gymnasium structure was retained and reused; the original timber roof deck ceiling was exposed, and original riveted steel trusses painted. Ventilation ductwork was routed in void spaces of each truss and then enclosed in drywall to mimic the form of a traditional basilica.

A new glass and steel modern addition, which inflects toward the Shrine, provides a fully accessible entry for visitors. Upon entering, visitors encounter familiar materials and forms. Like early churches in the New World, the sacred space is constructed with humble materials of wood, metal, and clay, elevated by ephemeral forms bathed in natural light.

The nave of the Chapel is organized like a traditional pilgrimage church with devotionals along its long walls. Within the old masonry openings of former glass block windows, new clerestory windows were inserted above insulated vertical zinc panels. These devotionals are highlighted with gossamer canopies of wire mesh above and warm wood paneling behind. Grazed with LED lighting, they provide places of devotion for visitors of multiple cultures.

Like traditional pilgrimage churches, the altar is raised above the main floor for visibility and a rear wall conceals ramps making the altar fully accessible with a skylight above bathing it in natural light.

Through modest materials and simple interventions, the Chapel of St Joseph elevates the spiritual experience for all.

Photography: Tom Harris Architectural Photography
General Contractor: Mazur + Son Construction
Structural Engineer: Enspect Engineering
MEP/FP Engineer: McGuire Engineers
Civil Engineer: Terra Engineering
Liturgical Consultant: Daprato Rigali Studios