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Trinity School - Hawley Chapel

The renovated Hawley Chapel serves as the primary gathering space of this 300 year-old independent school. The chapel supports a variety of activities, including regular services, school meetings, lectures and theatrical performances. The design goal was to re-create the space as a serene and quiet chapel space, which secondarily supports theatrical and other uses.

Access to the space was reduced and controlled. Nine entry/exit points were reduced to six - the fewest possible by code. The main entrances were fitted with vestibules that “slow” movement into the space. Each vestibule has a closed circuit monitor on the lobby side as well as an audio monitor within the vestibule to allow one to know what is occurring within the chapel, thereby reducing interruptions. Reorientation of the vestibules at the back of the house also eliminates a direct view of the doors and exit signs from the stage.

A white shell of subtle folding planes, extending from the balcony to the proscenium, was introduced, increasing the level of intimacy, improving acoustics, and blocking views to the exits, lighting and theatrical equipment. Additionally, a series of wing-like panels was installed below the catwalks creating a crisp white ceiling that acts as a light diffuser while screening mechanical equipment, catwalks and lighting from view.

We reduced room finishes to a simple, serene palette of evenly lit white surfaces, with the added warmth of natural wood pews. We redesigned the lighting to be as indirect as possible, reducing contrast and lending an ethereal quality to the room.