Gallaudet University is a leading international resource for research, innovation, and outreach related to deaf and hard-of-hearing people, with a student population of 1,400. Gallaudet engaged BKP to develop a phased plan and budget for renovating multiple spaces in the I. King Jordan Student Activities Center. The Interfaith Sanctuary was one of the projects completed within that renovation scope.
As the Gallaudet community has grown, the university sought to update its small chapel space for use by students of every faith. The previous chapel featured a traditional Christian aesthetic, from its stained glass to its pulpit-facing configuration. BKP’s redesign enables people to practice religion in different ways from small group gathering to personal reflection. The truly equitable multi-faith space emphasizes flexibility and a calming, meditative aesthetic.
Students were polled about room usage and storage needs. From that input, BKP developed a rolling bench system to provide flexibility in the room’s layout. Individuals can be seated to face someone speaking at the front of the room, to face mecca, or arranged in a circle or semicircle. Dedicated storage within the benches accommodates prayer cushions, hymnals, and other religious materials. Dimmable lighting complements a former cove ceiling light transformed into a faux skylight. A room in-use sign offers students privacy during their visits. BKP worked with Gallaudet to select a woodland forest photograph enlarged as a custom graphic wallcovering. This combines with a soothing palette of green tones for a nature-inspired environment.
1,000 square feet
Image © Jeffrey Totaro