Opal Creek Chapel

This unbuilt chapel is designed as the focal point and spiritual center of an Anglican monastery and retreat center in the Cascades of western Oregon. Perched on a rocky canyon rim high above the Little North Santiam River, the site straddles a gravel Forest Service road leading into the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area.

The chapel incorporates a traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgical design within a modernist building that is designed to be in harmony with the site. Like much Christian architecture, the chapel is richly symbolic of the death and Resurrection of Christ: The primary entrance is via a tunnel containing the Stations of the Cross, which becomes progressively darker and narrower as it gently slopes downward towards the church, symbolizing the Passion of Christ. The church proper is entered via the Baptistry, which signifies Christians entering the Church via the waters of Baptism. Worshippers then find themselves in a soaring nave, with gothic-inspired wood beams that support a sweeping roof and recall the surrounding trees. The climatic space of the church is at the high altar at the far end, where the Eucharist — the sharing of the Body and Blood of the Risen Christ — is celebrated against the dramatic backdrop of the canyon.

Personal Project, 2004 – 2006