Chapel Façade in Winter

chapel exterior

Chapel Façade in Winter

The campus chapel was closed for restoration projects throughout the entire summer. The clear windows along the north and south sides of the building were among the features receiving the most attention. (Repairing and tuning the impressive church organ, as well as cleaning its tall system of pipes, were also a major focus of the months-long labor, and I will post a photograph of the organ loft sometime in the future.)

When I took a photograph of the chapel façade last January, the deterioration of the windows’ frames and sills was clearly evident. Degraded by years of ultra-violet light, the paint on the frames had discolored and chipped, some of the glass in the windows had been covered with a filmy stain, and the seals for the panes displayed gaps rain could enter along with the colder or warmer temperatures of the outside air.

New thermal windowpanes now have been set into frames with tight insulation, and the latches have been replaced with more efficient replicas made from the mold of the old ones but with greater ability to maintain weather resistance. The color and gloss of the frames have been meticulously matched to the original paint that had become faint and lost its luster over the decades. The old coat was sanded away during the process, and the new covering is designed to resist such fading.

As this photo of the north side shows, the exterior view of the chapel also has been enhanced by the changes. The hundreds of new clear windowpanes better reflect their surroundings, and the sharp lines of the frames create a wonderfully patterned design. Even in winter with the bare trees and a light layer of snow, the chapel seems warm and welcoming, especially when the afternoon sun coming through the clear windows on the southern side of the structure illuminates the interior.

I look forward to taking pictures here again in upcoming months when the restored façade will be seen surrounded for the first time by full trees and when a lush growth of spring or summer flowers will grace the landscape.

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