Divine Word Chapel


Divine Word Chapel


Techny, Illinois

Divine Word Missionaries is one of the largest religious orders in the Roman Catholic Church, serving the poorest parishes in large cities of the developing world and the most remote jungle areas in the Amazon and Papua New Guinea. To mark the centenary of their work in the United States, we expanded and renovated the Mission Office at their American headquarters. This new visitor center is comprised of a new entry, a museum and the Chapel of the Word. The Mission Director asked for an intimate place for private prayer and public worship for small gatherings or individual wayfarers. A circular screen of stacked lumber, wracked on the outside but serene on the inside, and cloudlike floating ceiling planes evoke the indigenous huts and forest clearings in which the missionaries carry out their work. Using natural light and simple materials (pine boards, plywood, galvanized metal, slate, coir and plastic), we wanted to create a luminous space of prayer and spirituality.



1999 AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Award

1998 AIA Chicago Interior Architecture Award

1998 Faith & Form Religious Art and Architecture Interior Design Award

1997 Architectural Record Interior Award

Ministry & Liturgy, 06/07.2001

Architecture for the Gods, M Crosbie (New York: John Wiley, 1999)

Chiesa Oggi, 07.1999

www.aiachicago.org, 1999

Häuser, 03.1998

Chicago Tribune, 04.12.1998

Faith & Form, 1998

Architectural Record (interiors issue), 09.1997




Divine Word Missionaries


Completed 1997

Related Categories




Project Data

Area/Budget: 11,000sf / $1,100,000

Scope: addition & renovation for 11,000sf chapel, museum, & gift store

Project Team: David Woodhouse, David Poorman (project architect), Rand Ekman, Marsha Woodhouse

Beer Gorski Graff (structural); Robert Speckmann (mep); Schuler Shook (lighting); Service Construction (general contractor)

Photographer: Barbara Karant