University of Chicago - Bond Chapel


University of Chicago Bond Chapel


Chicago, Illinois

This project moved the significant Reneker Memorial Organ from the original Chicago Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago's Bond Chapel (Coolidge & Hodgdon, 1926), a neo-Gothic treasure that serves as an active center for worship and musical performance on campus. The Baroque-style organ was meticulously dismantled, refurbished, refinished, and reassembled in Bond's existing musicians' gallery. The positions and alignments of the intricate web of slender wood rods that connect the organ's keys, stops, and pedals to its 1,640 metal pipes were precisely recreated. The organ weighs 10 tons, but the delicate existing narthex screen and gallery platform could support no additional weight. A grillage of shallow steel beams, precisely located to coincide with the organ's support points and anchored in the Chapel's stout stone walls, was floated just above the narthex. The new structure is concealed behind a millwork fascia and an open guardrail whose materials (oak, gold leaf, leading) and detailing (historical moldings, fretwork) extend the narthex screen vertically, integrating it into a single diaphanous plane. Above, the restored organ soars upward and outward, majestically free-standing in an empyrean of luminous stained glass— an iconic Baroque jewel showcased in an intimate Gothic jewel-box.



2013 AIA Chicago Divine Detail Award




University of Chicago


Completed 2012

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Project Data

Area/Budget: 450sf / $215,000

Scope: renovations in historic chapel (Coolidge & Hodgdon, 1926) for installation of the Reneker Memorial Organ

Project Team: David Woodhouse, Andy Tinucci (project architect), Brian Foote

Jeff Weiler & Associates (organ restoration); Matrix Engineering (structural); dbHMS Engineering (mep); Threshold Acoustics (acoustical); Scale Construction (general contractor)

Photographer: Christopher Barrett; University of Chicago Archives