Lyle and Grace Prescott Memorial Prayer Chapel, Point Loma Nazarene University

The chapel design for Point Loma Nazarene University evolves from two inspirations: its serene natural setting, and the spiritual significance of the structure’s role as a spiritual and academic anchor for the campus. Simple, pure lines and forms help embody the true essence of a chapel’s purpose.

From outside, equal importance is placed on the approach to the building as much as on the chapel form itself. The massing of cast-concrete formed abstractly offers a pair of open arms in an inviting embrace. The entry plays with scale, compressing and then opening up to enhance the connection and progression from exterior to interior. The volume opens to enhance the sense of arrival in the relatively tall and linear interior volume of the sanctuary space, expressed in concrete, wood and glass.

Overhead, a light filigree of native wood hangs in the space-a gesture evoking the lifting of the spirit and Christ’s crown of thorns. It is also a gentle filter for natural daylight. Organic materials continue the theme of embrace, while concrete conveys a sense of earthly presence and strength.

Though small in size, the space offers a path of sacred experience. Three personal prayer niches radiate from the central volume, the centered cross of the sanctuary, with separations of slatted wood offering privacy while allowing natural daylight to penetrate. The number three is evoked throughout the design, a symbol of the Holy Trinity.

Total 130 Votes

Tell us how can we improve this post?


Verify Human or Spambot ?

  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    3900 Lomaland Dr., San Diego CA 92106

    Project Owner/Developer:

    Point Loma Nazarene University

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Bruce Kunkel, Associate Vice President for Campus Services & Sustainability,

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Carrier Johnson + CULTURE

Contact Us

Contact Us



P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

Sign Up

Stay on top of your Architectural news

Orchids & Onions is an educational and fundraising program of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization dedicated to education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region.

Get in the Mix