Best Use of Daylighting, Daylighting - St. Katherine Drexel Chapel, Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans

The St. Katharine Drexel Chapel at Xavier University—named after the school’s founder—breaks away from traditional churches both in style and in lighting approach.

The Narthex during the day, facing the entrance to the Chapel.

The Narthex at night, facing the sanctuary.

Rendering of the sanctuary's double-wall construction.

The chapel’s double wall (solid on the exterior and punched with a repeating pattern of holes on the interior) is capped with a halo-shaped skylight between the two surfaces, which provides general, filtered illumination through the scrimlike perforated metal screens during the day.

CBBLD’s extensive daylight modeling influenced the size and placement of the panel perforations as well as the angle of the screens.

At night, 3000K ceramic metal halide PAR30 wallwashers, mounted in the void of the double wall, and recessed CFL fixtures affixed to the skylight replicate the feel of daylighting by backlighting the screens.

A moment of reflective discussion inside the sanctuary.

A side chapel for meditation has a skylight, and recessed fixtures re-create this lighting at night. Stained-glass window niches provide additional perimeter lighting in this and the main sanctuary, and triple-headed LED fixtures light these small cutouts at night.

A view of the exterior at night with the bell tower in the background and the illuminated stained-glass windows of the chapel in the foreground.

A view of the entire campus of St. Katherine Drexel Chapel at night.

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