The dramatic new Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values combines wood, glass and stone to create a warm but strikingly modern interior, matched by a warmly reverberant acoustic. The chapel is a non-denominational worship space as well as the primary recital space for the music department. A 3-manual, 56-rank Dobson pipe organ (Opus 89) makes the room a world-class organ recital hall. The chapel can also be used as a meeting space, with full AV capacity.
The gothic-arch profile of the room posed a considerable acoustic challenge, offering few supportive reflections from overhead and threatening a series of late, focused reflections from interreflections off the concave walls. The design team’s response was a series of undulating convex curves at the side walls that counteracted the focusing and allowed the integration of lighting, supply air ducts, and operable acoustic banners. A translucent reflector along the spine of the room provides direct reflections from overhead while diffusing the light from the central skylight.
Upholstered chairs can be removed or added to make the room more or less reverberant, while the acoustic banners provide additional tuning of the reverberation time for recitals and meetings. Manually operated curtains at the lower rear wall allow additional fine-tuning. Steerable “smart column” loudspeakers provide clear speech even in the most reverberant setting.
Careful isolation allows worship and concerts to proceed without interference from nearby train lines and sports fields, while the air conditioning system maintains consistent temperatures and a whisper-quiet ambience.
The Center also includes meeting rooms and two meditation rooms, one a soaring modern space with views to a meditation garden.