ALL SAINTS CHAPEL
THE EPISCOPAL SCHOOL OF DALLAS
PROGRAM: The building program for All Saints Chapel at the Episcopal School of Dallas called for a transcendent religious space that would be a different experience each day for 500 students at the required ESD daily worship. The space needed to be designed for music with a three second reverberation time. And finally, this all had to be achieved with a $2,000,000.00 budget.
To achieve this reverberation time and seat 500 children,
the space needed to be at least 45 feet high. Large dormer windows were added in
the roof plan to increase the height of the interior vertical walls to achieve
the reverberation time. Also the walls needed to be very dense to allow the
sound to reverberate.
The mission of the Episcopal School of Dallas is to prepare young people having a variety of backgrounds, academic skills, aptitudes, and other attributes for college. This is best accomplished by providing a co-educational, faith-centered environment which fosters intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional, and social maturity, as well as the precepts of responsibility and giving. The Episcopal School of Dallas was created to structure the life of the community around the precepts of the Mission Statement. The Founding Tenets of the Episcopal School were created simultaneously with the original Mission Statement and are:
DAILY WORSHIP - Allows recognition of God, the teachings of the Judeo-Christian heritage, and the personal and global contemporary issues which require personal and corporate prayer and responses.
EXPERIENCES OF COMMUNITY - Allows the common needs of fellow human beings to be shared, lived and discussed in advisories, wilderness camping and headmaster retreats.
STUDIES IN RELIGION -Allows the development and inculcation of a belief system through structured, traditional classroom settings. SERVICE TO OTHERS - Allows students to experience the giving of their time to work on campus and in various service agencies throughout the city. The Tenets of worship, an experience of community and study, prepare members of this community for the fourth Tenet.
SERVICE, the highest manifestation of God's action in our
The achievement of acoustical perfection in the chapel is chiefly due to the height and mass of the concrete tilt wall panels. The ceiling design provides indirect light to create a mysterious, mystical, spiritually space. The stiffness inherent in the concrete panels allowed for a special ceiling treatment. To stiffen and stabilize the interior panel, a new cable roof structure was designed. The new system, based on the theories of Buckminster Fuller and artist Kenneth Snelson, was called the tensegrity tie bars. These structures retained their shape while in tension which was supplied by the outward thrust of the roof structure. Because they retained their shape while in tension, an allegory of the atom - the building block of our world - was suggested. The light structure of the tensegrity tie bars was also reminiscent of Gothic tracery in the old cathedrals.
On the exterior, a custom steel gutter system was utilized to terminate the top of the exterior concrete panels. The proportions of this system were derived from the frieze at the Parthenon.
The treatment of the corner intersection cast a false corner joint to make butting two panels together at a corner beautiful. Notice how the gutter joints align with the concrete joints. Our inspiration on this detail was Mies van der Rohe.
See the Saints floor inlay symbols designed by Langford Architects for the All Saints Chapel.
Updated November 2015