Designed by Cesar Pelli, the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel addition to the campus finally brought to life the original visions of Xavier’s founder to provide a religious place of respite for the university. The massive 400-seat church sanctuary with vaulting octagonal ceilings and detailed limestone walls was built with a completely hidden infrastructure. Indirect light filters in through the numerous perforated aluminum chancel screens and art glass throughout. Adjacent is a small day chapel that seats 20 people and is designed to host daily prayer services. In the facility is also common areas including vesting sacristies, a reconciliation room, and a conference room. Outside the building, a meditation garden contains a fountain and benches for quiet reflection. The Chapel is surrounded by beautiful landscaping and is fronted by a circular plaza that draws all points of the campus to the special place.
This project won the 2013 ABC National and Local Excellence in Construction Awards, 2013 AIA New Orleans Honor Award, 2013 AIA Connecticut Honor Award, 2013 Light & Architecture Design Award, 2013 IESNYC Lumen Award of Citation for the Use of Light to Transform Architecture, and the 2016 AIA Religious Art & Architecture Design Award.