Architecture

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The prominent Philadelphia architectural firm, Henry D. Dagit & Sons designed the  Immaculate Conception Chapel.

The Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus selected Dagit after seeing the chapel they had built at Philadelphia University. The two chapels share a similar rose window as well.

The chapel was designed in a Norman Gothic style which can be found all across Europe. Originating between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Norman and Gothic style buildings are often stylistically combined due to having similar stylistic timelines. Norman architecture is a more traditional take on Romanesque antiquity, whereas Gothicism is almost the complete opposite. Gothic architecture was aimed to reach new heights in Church design often being defined as extravagant and lavish. The Gothic style includes many of the chapel’s highlights including the dramatic detailing, high ceilings and towers, pointed arches, and stain glass windows.

The chapel is built of compilation of stones including local Foxcroft stone and trimmed with Indiana limestone. The interior walls are limestone in variegated tones of grey and buff. The flooring is made up of blocks of white cement with red and green Botticino and yellow marble chips. In the front of the chapel, the altar is composed of a large panel of yellow Sienna marble accented with three crosses of Botticino marble; Stations of the Cross are bas – relief carved of Alabama marble with a background of bold mosaic

When approaching the Chapel, the first sight that many take notice of are the great wooden entrance doors. The door frame is characteristic of early Gothic doorways, which were often traced with a subtle design and erected forward from the frame of the door. Above the doorway, centering the main nave of the Chapel, is a sculpture of Mary. Mary’s robe-like dress and realistic body proportions emphasize the Romanesque style of sculpture which is brought upon by Norman architecture.