Chapel Renovation Wins Palladio Craftsmanship Award

by | April 6, 2021 0 Interior Design, News + Announcements

For two decades, the national Palladio Awards has recognized traditional design that enhances the beauty and humane qualities of the built environment. Our team’s renovation of Providence Academy sought to do just that when taking on the project in 2019.

On Monday, Traditional Building Magazine announced this year’s winners, recognizing the Providence Academy Chapel with a Craftsmanship Award.

Built in 1883, the chapel was designed by pioneering architect and nun Mother Joseph Pariseau, and is nestled within the second and third floors of the Providence Academy building in Vancouver, Washington. Long considered the jewel of the property, the chapel features a grand altar and beautiful, hand-carved elements. In more recent years, Providence Academy transitioned into private ownership, and the chapel was deconsecrated, serving as an interpretive and events space beloved by the community.

But over the decades, the chapel suffered from roof leaks that caused cracked and crumbling plaster. Small and overstressed mechanical systems couldn’t keep up with the seasonal swings in temperature. And numerous layers of paint, coupled with generations of nicks and scratches, dimmed the shine of the serene space.

To honor Mother Joseph’s work, our team used vintage photographs and interviews with former students and tenants, to narrow in on a time period and palette that would serve as our design guide. Our renovation included plaster repair, painting the walls and ceiling with a new color scheme, refinishing the White Oak floors, addressing thermal comfort with HVAC enhancements, updating the fire detection and suppression system, and installing a new AV system. We replaced mid-century light fixtures with ecclesiastical-style fixtures that fit the Gothic Revival style of the space, and concealed accent lighting in the oculus over the former altar.

The most dramatic transformation was undoing years of white washing of the altar with a decorative paint and gilt treatment that highlights the incredible skill of Mother Joseph and team.

The chapel reopened in May of 2019 to a glorious reception from the community, which is our hope for every project we touch.

We’re so proud of this honor — particularly in recognizing the fine craftmanship embedded in our design and the construction — and we and share it with our team: The Historic Trust, Meritus and Schommer & Sons!

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