St. Edward's University Announces Selection of Chapel Architect Rick Joy wins important campus commission
More than 100 years ago, officials at what was then known as St. Edward's College in Austin, Texas, envisioned a new building to meet the needs of the growing school. Over the years, the quietly unassuming all-purpose building, called Exhibition Hall, became home to numerous university activities including a theater, an engineering and machine shop, and even a World War II firing range. Finally, at the end of the war, the hall was dismantled, moved across campus and converted to Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel. For nearly 60 years, the modest wood-frame chapel has served as the spiritual center of campus.
Today, 108 years after the construction of Exhibition Hall, university officials are once again envisioning a new structure to meet the demands of the burgeoning campus. However, the mission of this new building is certain — a $5 million chapel that will be home to the Holy Cross Institute and Campus Ministry in the heart of campus. The new chapel will serve as the visible expression of the university's commitment to its Holy Cross heritage and Catholic identity by providing opportunities for religious studies and participation in Campus Ministry, as well as an environment in which freely chosen beliefs can be deepened and expressed.
The new chapel will be designed by internationally acclaimed and award-winning architect Rick Joy of Rick Joy Architects based in Tucson, Ariz. Joy, winner of the 2004 National Design Award in Architecture from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, was chosen after a yearlong selection process that had been narrowed to a field of three prominent American architecture firms.
"The selection of Rick Joy as architect for the Holy Cross Institute and Chapel reflects both our commitment to the creation of a sacred space filled with warmth and beauty and our aspiration to build nationally distinguished buildings on our campus," said Melba Whatley, chair of the facilities committee of the St. Edward's University Board of Trustees.
"Rick Joy has an uncanny ability to understand sacred space, and has the depth of vision necessary to capture our Holy Cross character," said Father RickWilkinson, director of Campus Ministry and a member of the selection committee, which visited each firm's offices and at least two completed projects. "My experience of his work is that his designs allow visitors to touch the transcendent in a subtle and engaging way. His innate use of nature, light, space and sensory experience will enable us to collaboratively create a chapel to serve the needs of campus."
Upon learning of his selection, Joy said, "I'm ecstatic and totally committed to creating a deep and moving space that is both spiritual and serene in its support of the mission of St. Edward's." The award-winning architect known for his dramatic use of natural landscape received the news of his selection while in Paris, where he was lecturing at several architecture schools. "We will work shoulder-to-shoulder with St. Edward's to construct a space that is iconic, graceful and sensitive to the place — not by grand expression but through quiet emotion," he added.
The new chapel will be a warm and inviting signature building for St. Edward's — a symbol calling people to worship. Whether promoting a sense of community through daily Mass or providing a place for quiet contemplation, the chapel will play an integral role in campus life. Because of its location — on a prominent hilltop in a busy campus corridor — the chapel will take full advantage of the expansive views of downtown Austin and the neighboring Texas Hill Country.
As planned, the chapel will house a 400-person sanctuary along with the offices of Campus Ministry and the Holy Cross Institute. A joint initiative of the university and the Holy Cross Brothers, the institute will provide resources and programs for educators and lay members at Holy Cross schools and universities across the country.
With the selection process complete, the university will now move into a six-month design process. St. Edward's has already received a $1 million lead gift commitment for the $5 million chapel from alumnus Charles Kolodzey, '36. In addition, the university has received a $50,000 planning grant from the Scanlan Foundation of Houston, Texas. The chapel is part of an overall campus master plan that will add up to 12 new buildings to campus and help accommodate the institution's plans to double enrollment. Although focused on the future, the master plan and the buildings it calls for are connected to the university's history. New facilities will reflect the high design and planning standards set by St. Edward's and architect Nicolas Clayton, who designed the university's landmark Main Building in 1885.
About Rick Joy Architects
Rick Joy, principal, established Rick Joy Architects in 1993 in Tucson, Ariz., after earning a BArch from the University of Arizona and completing a three-year internship with Will Bruder as one of four designers of the celebrated Phoenix Central Library. Each of Rick Joy Architects' works has been exhibited and published extensively and has won numerous awards. Most recently, Joy won the prestigious 2004 National Design Award from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt and received the 2002 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Architecture. He regularly serves as a professor at both the Harvard Graduate School of Design and at Rice University and lectures internationally on his work. In 2002, Joy's first monograph, "Rick Joy: Desert Works," was published. It is the first in the Princeton Architecture Press/Graham Foundation Invited New Voices in Architecture series and has become the press's best-seller.
The 10-member firm currently has six active residential commissions in Arizona, California, Utah and Chilé, including the newest home for Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola in Napa, Calif. Joy also is the managing partner of I-10 Studio, a separate architectural firm developed in partnership with Marwan Al-Sayed and Wendell Burnette specifically for their newest commission — an ultra-luxury boutique eco-resort hotel and villas in southern Utah