Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Our Lady of the Woods Chapel

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Institution Name: Bellarmine University
Original/Historic Place Name: Our Lady of the Woods Chapel
Location on Campus: near Bonaventure and Lehihan Halls
Date(s) of Construction:
2001original construction Burcope, Alan Nolan & Nolan, Inc. Architects
Designer: Alan Burcope; Nolan & Nolan, Inc. Architects
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: Russet steel, glass, brick
2001-present (2006)outdoor space (for quiet reflection)
2001-present (2006)chapel (worship center for campus, place for quiet reflection)

Our Lady of the Woods Chapel, opened in 2001, is a striking modern building that was designed to evoke Gothic architecture--especially in its creative use of russet steel buttresses. The structure, designed by Alan Burcope of Nolan and Nolan Architects, takes splendid advantage of its wooded setting. Exterior to the building are a grotto, a porte-cochere, and reflective areas including a striking statue of Thomas Merton, the work of David Kocka.

Interior art glass is by Guy Kemper. Also inside the structure are bronze reliefs of St. Robert Bellarmine, Archbishop John A. Floersh (University founder), and The Holy Family. These are the work of Bellarmine art professor Robert Lockhart. Woodcrafters from Bittners made the main altar and back altar by hand. An exterior ambulatory runs on either side of the chapel.


Bellarmine Magazine. Special edition. (2001-02): 20-21.

Ray, Maia Lea. "Sacred Place: A Chapel in the Woods." Unpublished manuscript. n.d. President's Office. Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY.


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Last update: November 2006