Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Chapel of the Resurrection

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Institution Name: Valparaiso University
Original/Historic Place Name: Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus: center of east (new) campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1956-1959original construction Stade, Charles Edward
Designer: Charles Edward Stade (Park Ridge, Illinois)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: steel, reinforced concrete
Walls: masonry, glass
Roof: asphalt shingles
 
Function:
ca. 1959-present (2006)chapel
 

Narrative:
The Chapel of the Resurrection on the campus of Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, may be the largest collegiate chapel in the world. From chancel to narthex, the building measures 340 feet, more than the length of a football field. Centrally located at the high point of the campus, it is readily visible from transcontinental highway U.S. 30 and annually attracts hundreds of always welcome visitors. More importantly, it is both the day-to-day and symbolic heart of the University.

Built in 1956-59, its design reflects that of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Some visitors are struck by similarities to Coventry Cathedral in England. The limestone columns of its elevated octagonal chancel rise 100 feet from the ground and culminate in a roof shaped like a nine-pointed star. Beneath the chancel is the 200-seat Gloria Christi Chapel. The chancel's three great stained glass windows, crafted in Cologne, Germany, depict God's creative, redemptive, and sanctifying work. The large marble altar is encircled by a communion rail accommodating forty-five persons at a time. Behind the altar, fixed on a free-standing cross, is the Christus Rex sculpture. The 68 by 193-foot nave has pews for 2,000. On each side its walls are formed by nine 58-foot brick piers, angled to provide multiple exits. Its tapered ceiling reaches a height of seventy-two feet. In the west gallery the pipes of the 102-rank Schlicker organ, rebuilt and completed in 1996, attractively flank a fourth stained glass window, the music window. At one side of the narthex is a circular processional stairway, ascending to the gallery and descending to the baptistery, where the baptismal font, made of a single 5-ton piece of granite, rests on a predella of graduated black Mexican pebbles. A 17-foot bronze sculpture hangs above the font. Accessible from the baptistery is the undercroft hallway with a gallery of historic photos of the Chapel and its construction. Near the canopied entranceway, a cross-topped campanile with twelve bronze bells rises 140 feet into the sky.
 

References:

Baepler, Richard. Flame of Faith, Lamp of Learning: A History of Valparaiso University. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2001.

Hammel, Green, and Abrahamson. Master Plan. [Minneapolis, MN: Hammel, Green, and Abrahamson], 1997.

 

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Last update: November 2006