Friday, May 5, 2017

Restoration of St. Turibius Chapel

Restored St. Turibius Chapel

St. Turibius Chapel at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio recently underwent a dramatic restoration project under the direction of architect, William Heyer and general contractor, Ruscilli Construction.  The aim of the restoration was to show the true beauty of the chapel's architecture with a special emphasis on artwork and craftsmanship, while focusing the congregation's attention toward the Eucharist. Contributors to this restoration project included Evergreene Architectural Arts (mural work) and Henninger's (marble work).

Pontifical College Josephinum
The Pontifical College Josephinum is one of only 15 Pontifical seminaries in the world, and it's the only one outside of Italy.  Since it has Pontifical status, this seminary has a special distinction.  Completed in 1932 and designed by architect Frank A. Ludewig, the complex is an architectural marvel.  Its tower is a recognizable landmark on the northern side of Columbus, visible from miles away.  

Architect William Heyer of Columbus, Ohio has been working with the Josephinum since 2004 on various restoration projects.  He has provided architectural consulting for a new roof, structural masonry, student residences, other housing quarters, and the St. Rose Chapel.  The restoration of the St. Turibius Chapel was the Josephinum's largest, and most important undertaking. 
Archive photo and 1989 renovation photo
A main feature of St. Turibius Chapel for many decades was its large mural, designed and painted by Gerhard Lamers (circa 1936).  Since it was painted on an exterior wall, the mural deteriorated after each of the chapel's three renovations (1936, 1945, and 1953).  This mural was covered over during a 1989 renovation; hidden from site and unable to be restored. 

A studio with a high degree of artistic talent and a history of grand, religious projects was needed to create the mural to take its place.  Evergreene Architectural Arts of Brooklyn, New York was selected by the Pontifical College Josephinum.  

Design work at Evergreene Architectural Arts
The new mural is a celebration of Lamers' work with his original design intent and colors.  It was finalized with the assistance of William Heyer, and two consultants from the Josephinum staff: Rev. John Allen, STB (Vice President for Advancement and Director of Alumni Relations) and Rev. Douglas Martis, PhD, STD (Associate Professor and Director of Sacred Liturgy).  

Mural Installation

Completed Mural

The Altar of Sacrifice and Tabernacle Stand were designed by William Heyer.  He visited Henninger's in Cleveland with Rev. Martis and Rev. Allen to discuss the project with Henninger's marble fabricator, Renato Campi of The Italian Marble Company.  

Altar of Sacrifice design by William Heyer

At Henninger's warehouse, the species of marble were selected for the two Altars: Bottacino Classico body, with Rosso Levanto and Giallo Siena inset panels, and mensas in Calacatta Gold.  

Color rendering of Altar of Sacrifice after selection of marble species.

 The Altars were fabricated by The Italian Marble Company in Carrara Italy.
Fabrication Shop in Carrara, Italy

Altars and marble flooring was shipped from Italy to Ohio for on site installation.  Since St. Turibius Chapel is on the 3rd floor of the seminary, lifting the crates up and inside of the building were a challenge.  Henninger's crew performed the installation of the altars in about two weeks.  Overseeing the installation, and the entire restoration project was Ruscilli Construction Company.
Henninger's foreman, Jerry Klimo and Architect, William Heyer planning the installation from the site of the Altar of Sacrifice

Tabernacle Stand Installation
Altar of Sacrifice Installation
Marble Floor Medallion Installation

Altar of Sacrifice Installation
Completed Tabernacle Stand

Completed Altar of Sacrifice

Front view of both Altars

Back view of Altar of Sacrifice

Detail view of Altar of Sacrifice

Other important improvements include:
  • A new floor plan which allows for more seating and the Altar placed for the best liturgical service.
  • New porcelain tile floor with marble steps, risers, and medallions.
  • Enhanced handicap accessibility.
  • Improvements in the sound system and energy efficient lighting.

Procession of Reliquary

The Chapel and Altar were dedicated on April 24, 2017 by His Excellency, the Most Rev. Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, and the Chancellor of the Pontifical College Josephinum.

Altar Dedication

“The restored chapel will further the integration of a dynamic prayer life which is focused around the altar and the Paschal mystery,” said Msgr. Christopher J. Schreck, the college’s rector/president.

It was an honor and thrill for Henninger's to work on such an amazing project.  The "before and after" pictures tell a part of the story.  The rest of the story lies in the hundreds of smiling faces as they entered the restored Chapel for the first time after the project's completion.  Such a historic Chapel in such an important Seminary deserves world class attention.  We were proud to offer such attention and very grateful at the opportunity.

For more information about the restoration of St. Turibius Chapel, please visit The Catholic Times.

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