Chapel of St. Basil

Chapel Of St. Basil

Chapel of St. Basil

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The Chapel of St. Basil is a chapel on the campus of the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX, designed by Philip Johnson.


The Chapel of St. Basil is located at the North end of the University's Academic Mall. The mall itself is a series of buildings representing various academic disciplines and various forms of scholarly activity. The buildings face one another and are open to each other, indicating the interdependence of all scholarly endeavor. No non-academic auxiliary operations are located on the mall.

The Chapel and Doherty Library are located at opposite ends of the Academic Mall to represent the dialogue between faith and reason, respectively. The Chapel, despite being adjacent to West Alabama street, faces inward towards the Academic Mall as an important part of this symbolism.


The structure of the Chapel is composed of three basic geometric forms: the cube, the sphere, and the plane. The cube comprises the majority of the building, including the main seating area, while the dome (a semi-sphere) rises high above the cube. The granite plane bisects the cube and opens up the chapel to light. The cube and plane interplay with the dome, creating a sense of the dome not being a closing vault on top of the Chapel, but rather an opening to the heavens.

The Chapel itself contrasts with all of the other buildings on campus, as it is composed of white stucco and black granite as opposed to the rose-colored brick that comprises the exterior of...
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