St. John Fisher College Chapel

St. John Fisher College Chapel: An Ode to Iconic Cathedrals of the Past

The Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great is the realization of the campus vision to provide a chapel that exemplifies the cornerstone of the St. John Fisher mission. The 8,000 sq. ft. project provides a flexible worship and gathering space while blending with the campus vernacular and iconic context.

The interior is open and bright – arching glulam beams soar above the nave, bordered by 12 stained glass windows that filter light through an abstract kaleidoscope of colors. LaBella coordinated with skilled artisans who crafted custom stained glass windows and wood sanctuary furnishings to ensure that a consistent motif was echoed throughout.

The architecture and interior design team created blends of red and gold tile that radiate from two mosaic niches flanking the nave, drawing attention to the Tabernacle and Book of the Gospels. Flexible seating allows the space to be reconfigured for various uses, with a maximum capacity of 250 people.

The program contains all of the elements of a traditional Catholic church, including a sacristy, reconciliation room, and a vestry that can also double as a bridal suite. A baptismal font was designed to symbolize one’s religious journey and rebirth, containing a metal spillway that will change in appearance over time. The large, suspended crucifix is crafted of Sapele but within its core is oak from the tree that once resided on the site.

Visible from Fairport Road, the chapel is crowned by a steeple that pays homage to the bell tower of neighboring Kearney Hall and showcases the crest of the Basilian Fathers.

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The Art of Architecture: Collaborating with Artisans on the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great

Where does architecture end and art begin? The two are so interwoven, architecture has long been considered an art.

In designing the Chapel of St. Basil the Great, LaBella’s architectural team wanted to embrace the inimitable quality of true artistry. Like iconic cathedrals of the past, this chapel demanded a level of finesse uncommon to most buildings. This highly specialized and practiced talent was found in two Renaissance individuals, John Dodd and Valerie O’Hara.

The design process was truly collaborative. LaBella worked alongside these artisans beginning in design development to create a consistent language at every scale, while drawing on their decades of expertise. The final pieces became contributions to an overall vision, part of a cohesive work of art. We were graciously invited into their studios for a first-hand look at their process, tools, and materials.

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