St. Patrick’s Cathedral Lady Chapel
St. Patrick’s Cathedral serves dual missions as an international landmark with 5 million visitors annually and a thriving congregation with 18 weekly services. Those needs are often at odds with the constant flow of daily visitors limiting the number of services and disrupting quiet meditation. At the rear of the cathedral sits the Lady Chapel, designed by Charles Matthews in 1901, it was conceived to be a sanctuary within a sanctuary where regular devotions are held daily. To create a quiet space for mediation and special services, MBB designed an all-glass system to acoustically isolate the Lady Chapel from the main nave, all while achieving perfect integration into the building.
A 48-foot-tall glass wall reaches the Lady Chapel’s arch, and is supported by a 23-foot long 8-ply glass beam. The heavy glass panes weigh nearly 3 tons and are supported solely by the this beam. Glass doors in the lower section are set forward slightly to preserve the Chapel’s original mosaic floor. The glass structure sits in a minimal and detailed bronze frame treated to match the tone of the Cathedral’s historic front doors. The design is deferential to the Cathedral’s architecture, and the transparency makes it appear as if there’s no wall at all.
- Glass Magazine2018 Award
Select Publications & Interviews
- Construction Specifier | February 2019“Glass Structures in Historic Milieux,” by Taylor Aikin
- Glass Magazine Vol. 68 Num. 8 | September 2018“Innovations in Glass,” by Norah Dick and Olivia Parker
- National Trust for Historic Preservation | November 2018“Minimalist Glass Insertions to Improve and Preserve St. Patrick’s Cathedral, by Jeffrey Murphy