The objective of the project was to to select a site within the park and design a nondenominational chapel in memory of the soldiers who suffered and died at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778. The program included a worship space to seat 200, limited parking areas, exhibit space, an outdoor terrace, and various support spaces. Special attention was required for landscape architecture, environmentally sensitive design, as well as responsiveness to climate, site, and cultural context.
A site was selected within a wooded area overlooking a steep valley toward the west. The site takes advantage of an existing road and parking lot that once provided access to a now-demolished observation tower. The primary worship space is a prismatic glassy structure that provides unobstructed views from the chapel into the forest and valley. The chapel interior is arranged in a variation of a traditional cruciform plan, under a sweeping roof. The outdoor terrace and support spaces are tucked back into the hillside partially below-grade so as to not obstruct views from and toward the chapel. Careful attention was paid to the reconfiguration of the existing parking lot so as to not compromise the wooded character of the site.
Fourth Year Design Studio, Fall 2002
Drexel University College of Media Arts and Design
Studio Critic: Jeff Krieger