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.