Terri Meyer Boake BES BArch MArch LEED AP
Associate Professor :: Associate Director :: School of Architecture :: University of Waterloo

Byzantine Fresco Chapel

Francois de Menil Architect

Houston, Texas


Project Information:

This chapel was designed by the architect son of Dominique de Menil, patron of the Menil Gallery, designed by Renzo Piano Workshop, in Houston, Texas. The chapel was designed and constructed in 1997 to house several valuable frescos that were taken from a Turkish occupied section of Cyprus in the 1980s. Graham Dodd of Arup Materials Consulting was the engineer responsible for the design of the glass and the fixings, in consultation with the Arup New York office, which was responsible for the structure. TriPyramid was responsible for fabricating the fittings and Dlubak processed the glass. 

These images were taken during a night time only tour of the chapel during the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture Administratror's Conference in Fall 2004.

more info: link , LD+A published by IESNA

Project Images:

This steel and glass chapel is situated inside a rectangular masony shell that acts more as a container for this piece of architecture.
The interior of the masonry building is finished in rough concrete, so that it tends to disappear for night visits, allowing attendees to experience only the luminosity of the chapel itself.

Cruciform connection detail. .
Base details. The glass walls are held above the floor by steel C clips. A very thin track of light sits directly beneath each glass panel, making it glow from below.

The glass panels are simply held apart at strategic locations to allow entry and exit from the chapel interior.
Overal view of the exterior of the chapel. Steel rods lightly brace the lightweight structure back to the rectangular masonry envelope that houses the chapel.
Corner details.
Detail of the base of the curved glass the forms the apse of the chapel.
View of the circular "dome" of the chapel that contains the main fresco.
Detail showing connection of double layer of glass to steel rods via C shaped steel clips.
View into the dome of the chapel.
The shape of the dome had to be carefully planned to accommodate the dimensions of the existing fresco that was shipped.
At night, without any natural light entering the chapel from the skylights that surround the space, an intimate setting is created.
View along the side of the chapel.
Exterior wall.
Pool at entry.
Main entrance.

back to steel gallery
back to main gallery

These images are for educational use only and may not be reproduced commercially without written permission. tboake@sympatico.ca

Updated June 4, 2008