Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Chapel of St. Basil

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Institution Name: University of St. Thomas
Original/Historic Place Name: Chapel of St. Basil
Location on Campus: northeast campus, just east of Moran Garage
Date(s) of Construction:
1957first designs Johnson, Philip
1997construction complete
Designer: Philip Johnson
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Postmodern, Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: steel reinforced concrete pier and beams
Walls: exterior: steel studs and EIFIS; interior: S/R and plaster
Roof: built up, tar and gravel
ca. 1997-present (2006)chapel

In 1997, Philip Johnson, one of the most influential architects of his generation, came out of retirement to complete the Academic Mall at the University of St. Thomas, which he had begun in 1956. The completion of the Chapel allows the University to more suitably further its academic mission to become the premier Catholic institution in the Southwest. The Chapel has become a landmark building not only for the University but also for the city of Houston. It has won AIA awards for religious art and interiors, and is on the unofficial chapel tour path of those who visit the Rothko Chapel and the Byzantine Chapel, both of which are owned by the Menil Foundation and are immediately adjacent to campus.


BGK Architects and H2L2. Revised Campus Master Plan. [BGK Architects, Austin, TX and H2L2, Philadelphia, PA], 2000.

"Chapel for St. Thomas University, Houston, Texas, 1991, Philip Johnson Architects." Zodiac 7 (March/August 1992): 34-[43].

Kipnis, Jeffrey. "Philip Johnson." A & U [Architecture & Urbanism] no. 259 (April 1992): 6-39.

Moorhead, Gerald. "Johnson Chapel." Architectural Record 185 (August 1997): 29.

Sechelski, Teana, ed. First 50 Years: University of St. Thomas, 1947-1997. [s.l.: s.n., n.d.].


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Last update: November 2006