In 1991, Seattle University President William J. Sullivan, SJ, proposed building a chapel on the Seattle University campus that not only would meet the university's needs but would also be an architectural gift to the surrounding civic community. The Chapel Planning Committee, chaired by Gerald Cobb, SJ, selected architect Steven Holl as the principal designer and Olsen Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects as the local project team. Holl's vision of the chapel-to-be was guided by his visits to places significant in St. Ignatius's life, reading St. Ignatius's book on personal spiritual growth, the Spiritual Exercises, as well as by his consultations with the planning committee and the campus community as a whole. Holl's design concept "a gathering of different lights" realized itself in the seven glass window portals through which light, entering the building at various times during the day, is diffracted into multiple hues. This multi-faceted display of light and darkness is intended to reflect human interior movements of consolation and desolation prayed through St. Ignatius's Examen in the Spiritual Exercises. The hand-carved Alaskan yellow cedar doors also contain seven glass lenses set into the doors at different angles to radiate light. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel, designed by Seattle artist Linda Beaumont, contains an onyx tabernacle, a 20 foot tall Madrona tree symbolizing the struggle of life, and walls coated with 600 pounds of beeswax and embedded with gold-leaf prayers. The Gratia Plena, a modernistic sculptural image symbolizing the grace of Mary, stands nearly eight feet tall and weighs 2,300 pounds. Created by Steven Heilmer, the sculpture was carved from a single piece of Carrara marble.
The Chapel of St. Ignatius on the campus of Seattle University is an award winning architectural sacred space designed by world renowned architect Steven Holl. An award for Design Excellence was conferred by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The collection includes architectural drawings, artifacts, committee minutes, graphic materials, moving images, award certificates and textual materials.
Restrictions on Access :
The collection is open for researchPreferred Citation :
Seattle University Chapel of St. Ignatius Records, Special Collections, Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons, Seattle University.