Air Force Village (AFV) Chapel,
San Antonio, TX
Proposed new Chapel connecting existing residential and support services with the new structure.
The AFV Chapel design derives from the intersection of natural and man-made, albeit abstracted, forms.
The Chapel is sited to present a broad, transparent foreground face to Montgomery Rd. and situated so as to integrate efficiently with the existing chapel inside the Healthcare center. The existing chapel would be reassigned for Chapel classroom /meeting room uses. The site plan retains a majority of the existing parking while incorporating 20 new spaces for a total of 202 parking spaces. Reusing existing parking allows monies used for completely new parking configurations to be potentially allotted towards the building budget, and assures that many existing trees are not disturbed.
At the Chapel’s exterior, a gently sloping base, hill-like in form, gives way to a soaring, visually weightless and distinctly man-made roof form. This roof rises to the Northwest in a public pronouncement directed at the main entrance drive, bringing with it an arc of glass curtain wall spanning from south to northwest and opening towards Montgomery Rd. Opposite the glass wall a wood-clad wall is visible, acting as a natural, organic counterpoint to the glass and metal curtain wall. The base level of the glass wall is translucent, allowing for natural light while offering privacy, especially for the Blessed Sacrament space. Natural light and heat gain are controlled through a combination of roof overhangs, insulating glass and computer driven sun-tracking shades. The entrance-side façade is clad in locally quarried limestone.
Inside the Chapel, entrance to the Sanctuary from the Narthex occurs on the high side of the roof / glass form where generous amounts of natural light welcomes parishioners, akin in spirit to the iconic 1956 Otaniemi Lutheran Chapel, Finland. However, as one proceeds towards the Chancel expanses of glass gradually give way to the enveloping base and resolves into an intimately scaled Chancel where natural light is more controlled, The wood–clad wall, in addition to its aesthetic appeal, allows for very good acoustical qualities. Sanctuary seating is shown as theater style, but can be substituted with traditional pew seating based upon parishioner preferences. Although slightly elevated to accommodate sight lines, the Chancel is easily accessed via an accessible ramp. All aisles and corridors are 4’-5’ wide for ease of access.