Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Views of the Ignatian Chapel on Seattle U's campus--the Outside

As you can see, the architecture of this building is modern, very asymmetrical, plain, rather ugly walls, strange shapes, incongruous juxtapositions. A building least likely, upon viewing, to be suspected of being a chapel. Next you will see the inside.


  1. Certainly not a chapel to Christ, anyway.

    To say something nice, though, it sort of looks like it's made of cake, at least in the photos. Probably just because frosting and raw concrete have similar textures, but still—it's much less ugly if you pretend it's made of German Chocolate.

    Not that one really wants a church made of cake.

  2. I don't know, wasn't it Theresa of Avila who said, "God is good. God, with chocolate, is better." ?

  3. While we're talking food images that were evoked by this place, I have to admit that I had a hard time understanding the "swiss cheese" imagery at the front door...

  4. The doors *do* look swiss cheesy. Architecture that evokes thoughts of food...

  5. My mom always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say...," so I'll abstain from comment.

  6. I think having the building bring thoughts of food is taking this situation quite lightly. Yes, I did use the word "ugly" above. Maybe I was being judgmental regarding the shapes of buildings, or showing a prejudice for symmetrical forms of architecture, but that's my personal preference, and I'm allowed to say that.

    And perhaps the purpose was to disguise the building as a chapel, right? If so, don't you think they did a good job?

  7. The architecture of Jesuit university chapels is worthy of study. Here in Philadelphia, the chapel at St. Joseph's is not much better than Seattle's. However, Fordham's "University Church" and Loyola Chicago's "Madonna Della Strada Chapel" are stunningly beautiful.

  8. Coincidentally, I was just at the Madonna Della Strada "Chapel" (as big as my local parish church) yesterday, and a vast contrast it is, too, to the Seattle U chapel. Madonna is a beautiful structure inside and out, and actually looks like a large church.

    We were there for a college visit with our daughter.

  9. I came to the relization that there is some symbolism involved. Whether that symbolism is good or bad is one thing - the essential thing here to me is that if the symbolism has to be explained and/or is not readily apparent, then it's not good symbolism. It doesn't fulfill it's reason for being.

    To most of us it doesn't take us to a higher plane of understanding, it becomes "the building which looks the least like a church".

    As you'll note (especially on the inside) much is beautiful, in a purely aesthetic materialistic viewpoint. Whether it's really beautiful depends on its meaning, which often eludes me.

  10. The chapel had a lot of light: ok . The Blessed Sacrament was hidden , and nearly on the floor.
    On the other hand, Mass there was lovely, and Father gave a beautiful talk about being ready to be martyred, as Catholics. It was the Memorial of a martyr, don't recall who. There are signs of life.
    I liked the campus.
    Very quiet
    Some Jesuits there apparently did not like Fr Spitzer, which is a pity .


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