Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Chapel House

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Colgate University
Original/Historic Place Name: Chapel House
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1959original construction Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Designer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: stone cladding, glass
Roof: flat, asphalt
1959-present (2006)other (meditation center)
1959-present (2006)library
1959-present (2006)chapel (interdenominational)

Chapel House is an outstanding example of late, International Style Modernism on an intimate scale. The clarity of its functional organization is paralleled with fine transitions of material and supported by an exploitation of siting. The finest space is the Chapel itself, in which tinted glass, steel frames, slate flooring, and a gold mosaic combine to form a space well suited to meditation and interdenominational worship. In Colgate's history, the building reflects a conscious shift in architectural identity from the conservative and elegant stone revivalism of the Central Quadrangle to an explicitly progressive, modernist image. Within the institution, Chapel house has served an important, historic role in integrating Colgate's commitments to religious, Asian, and peace studies.


The Colgate University Centennial Celebration: 1819-1919. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University, 1920.

Klauder, Charles Z., and Herbert C. Wise. College Architecture in America and Its Part in the Development of the Campus. New York and London: C. Scribner's Sons, 1929.

Williams, Howard. A History of Colgate University, 1819-1969. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1969.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006