Bishop Garrigan Chapel

Project Specifications
Description:Addition, 2,300 SF
Timeline:Completed in 2020
Location:Algona, IA
The initial intent to physically move an existing decommissioned church across rural Iowa and repurpose it as a chapel for its affiliated Catholic school was abandoned after much investigation into feasibility and cost.  Once determined the church could not be moved, a secondary desire emerged to preserve parts and pieces of the building as important components of the area’s religious heritage.  A challenge was presented to repurpose this kit of parts in a youthful way to better align with their new life on a high school campus. To address this, the new chapel displays a refined and approachable appearance as a visible welcome and acknowledgment of modern worship.  The historic alters and stained-glass windows from the original church were carefully salvaged, restored, and framed in contrast to the clean, crisp white walls of the new space.
Within the circulation connection between the existing school and new chapel, these historic windows are positioned so that the vibrancy of the art glass is experienced in two ways.  First, in their tactile form as physical components of the shelter and solace of the building.  And secondly, as shifting projections on the surfaces of the corridor, much like the ethereal presence of faith.  The stark, high-contrast exterior and simple massing of the chapel addition propel occupants from one of the most traditional buildings to one of the most contemporary buildings in the entire community.  Not by accident, but as a purposeful demonstration of the school’s relevance and ability to both value the past and embrace the future.