Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago: Photos

Here are a few photos from my visit yesterday to Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago along with information found on the Rockefeller / University of Chicago website.

IMG_9219Rockefeller Chapel seats approximately 1,700 people. Its walls contain 72,000 pieces of Indiana limestone, and inside are 100,000 pieces of colored, glazed Guastavino tile.

From the narthex to the chancel, Rockefeller Chapel is filled with many architectural wonders. The roof is supported by pillars made entirely of stone and concrete. The only structural steel used in the building is in the beams which carry the weight of the concrete slabs of the roof, and some rods in the attic.

The height of the nave (at 79 feet, 5 inches) is almost twice its width (41 feet between the piers), and its length (231 feet, 6 inches) is almost three times its height, wall to wall.

Rockefeller Chapel is 265 feet long and 102 feet wide at its widest point. The tower, towards the northeast corner, is 207 feet high and can be ascended via a spiral stone staircase of 271 steps (visitors are invited to ascend the tower at the times of scheduled carillon recitals, meeting the carillonneur at the north-east door to the Chapel half an hour before the recital time).

The Chapel weighs 32,000 tons, and 56 concrete piers carry the foundations down to bedrock 80 feet below the floor.

Built with the Chapel itself in 1928, Rockefeller Chapel’s regal organ is one of four University organs of the American organ-builder E.M. Skinner (the others being at Yale, Princeton, and Michigan). These organs are considered among the finest examples of 20th century romantic organs built in America. Rockefeller’s organ, Opus 634, was unveiled at a recital by Lynnwood Farnam, reportedly to a crowd of over 2,500 admirers, on November 1, 1928.

More than one hundred stone sculptures decorate the outside of the Chapel, representing philosophy and the humanities, religion and University life. The sculptures were designed by Lee Lawrie (1877-1963) and Ulric Ellerhausen (1879-1957).

For more information on the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at University of Chicago, visit their website or take a trip to Hyde Park and take a good look first hand. My visit was well worth the short journey to the south side.
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