UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA - SYKES CHAPEL AND CENTER FOR FAITH AND VALUES
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The project supports this vision to include spiritual growth and understanding as an integral part of its educational program to foster awareness and respect for the world’s religions and spiritual practices. The chapel is open to and serves nine current student organizations with religious and/or spiritual affiliations, the overall campus student population and the local community as well.
THE PROJECT WAS CONCEIVED IN RESPONSE TO THE UNIVERSITY’S COMMITMENT TO THE HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT OF ITS STUDENTS
DESIGN GOALS & STRATEGY
The design team’s integrated planning expanded to include the campus design and construction leaders, the associate dean of students, the community partnership, and the Resource Team for Faith, Values and Spirituality. In addition, the Interfaith Youth Core was brought in to assess student attitudes regarding the new facility and program to better integrate this new initiative into the existing campus culture. Implementation strategies facilitated the successful planning and design of this project. Programming and architectural design evolved as the architect worked with the University and lead donors. This project demonstrates the highest quality design and discerning use of materials to give form to the university’s vision. The classic proportions of the Golden Section define the dimensions and volumes of the spaces in the center. With design sensitivity to human scale, daylight, selection of warm and durable materials, the building evokes the same positive emotions experienced in the beauty of nature. The main hall can as easily support a majestic organ recital as it can facilitate stillness, silence and contemplation.
Purpose and planning for this project lead to innovative and creative design elements and detailing in a way that transcends the creation of a facility that is “just” aesthetically pleasing and functional. The facility was designed to elicit spiritual, sensory and emotional responses by users. The play of sunlight through skylights, stained art glass and light scattering prisms uplift the visual senses. Organ recitals offer a celebration of powerful music, and yet the building provides quiet solitude at times of contemplation. Rich, durable materials and textures, from polished stone, cherry wood paneling, and brick, to natural boulders and plantings of the Sykes Meditation Garden, appeal to the sense of touch. Pleasing aromas emanate from the flowers of the gardens. The spiritual nature of the space is also expressed by the visually “free-floating” wood glue-laminated arch connections at the top of the main hall that give the appearance of unobstructed openness to the sky above. Simple curved forms shape the space, like two cupped hands sheltering the space within, allowing sunlight to pass between them. These forms are recalled in other design elements such as walls of the entry foyer and custom stainless-steel door pulls. Building scale is intentionally reduced at the exterior chapel elevation with inviting brick arcade and human scaled canopies.