Architecture of The Chapel of St. Ignatius


"For the Greater Glory of God"

During the day each part of the Chapel of St. Ignatius will glow with colored light from two sources. Light bouncing off color fields painted on the back of suspended baffles creates a halo of light on the surrounding walls, while light passing through colored glass lenses in the exterior windows and openings in the baffles casts onto the chapel walls and floor. Interior lighting will create a similar effect at night, transforming the chapel into a beacon of multicolored light radiating outward to the campus and city.

Colored Windows

A Gathering of Different Lights

Architect Steven Holl chose "A Gathering of Different Lights" as the guiding concept for the design of the Chapel of St. Ignatius. This metaphor describes Seattle University's mission and it also refers to St. Ignatius vision of the spiritual life as comprising many interior lights and darknesses, which he called consolations and desolations.

Holl conceived of the chapel as "seven bottles of light in a stone box," with each bottle or vessel of light corresponding to a focal aspect of Catholic worship. Light passes through each bottle in a specific area of the building to define physical and spiritual spaces with pools of clear and colored light.


Lights in Chapel

Recognition, Credits and Honors

Holl's plan for the Chapel of St. Ignatius won a design award from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the scale model of the chapel has been selected to become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

"For the Greater Glory of God" Dedicated April 6th, 1997

President: William J. Sullivan, S.J., 1976-1997

Architect: Steven Holl Architects, New York, New York

Associate Architect: Olson Sundberg Architects, Seattle Washington 

Contractor: Baugh Construction, Seattle Washington