Capping two decades of planning and design work for the independent St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School, MBB (Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects) reimagined its multipurpose chapel to allow for more uses and flexibility and to offer a bright, uplifting experience for faculty, families and students in grades Pre-K to 8.

MBB oversaw the refurbishing and reinstallation of the chapel’s original pews and 1974 Rieger organ as the walls and ceiling were stripped to their structure and rebuilt with acoustic backing and white oak paneling in varied board and slatted patterns. Illuminated ceiling coffers, inspired by stained-glass windows, brighten the room alongside new, energy-efficient recessed LED fixtures. Down the central aisle, a raised ceiling with articulated wood baffles trains ceremonial focus on the altar and the organ’s new wood case surround, set on an original raised section of the refurbished travertine marble floor.

Contrasting classrooms and other spaces, the new chapel elevates its special significance in school life, a room used every day and for regular division meetings. Hidden audiovisual systems enhance music performances and community programs. Along with this expanded use, the school has rediscovered Gordon Chapel as a touchstone of its progressive spirit and unique legacy.