Air Force Village Chapel

Unbuilt Design Award Submission

The Air Force Village Chapel seeks to create a meaningful multi-denominational worship space within a residential community of military families in desperate need of identity. The chapel’s sanctuary is surmounted with an 88-foot tall lantern that serves to bring natural light into the sanctuary, and serve as an iconic landmark and visual marker within the rapidly-expanding and sprawling retirement community.
Worshipers enter the project through the Chapel Garden, a green space with trees and benches that serves as a space for quiet contemplation and support space for community events. At the edge of the garden is a curving, metal-clad wall that leads worshipers into the chapel.
Materiality, construction techniques and detailing strategies locate the project geographically and serve to make it specific to its military-family users. Local limestone and oak are used to make the project “of its place,” and materials and techniques used in aeronautical manufacturing are employed in the construction of the Lantern, a metal dia-grid structure with translucent glass panels on both sides. Metal detailing in the aluminum clad walls of the building reference airplane manufacturing, and the camouflage-patterned tile chancel wall expresses an appreciation and respect for military culture.

John Ronan Architects
Air Force Villages
San Antonio, TX