Beginning in the 1950s, Marcel Breuer collaborated with the Benedictine monks of Collegeville to design 10 buildings, mostly of cast-in-place concrete. VJAA was charged with renovating two: the church and the monastic Chapter House. As part of the project, the firm designed the new Blessed Sacrament Chapel, a room for daily devotions that is lined in oak slats to emulate the texture of Breuer’s millwork. A new two-level lobby addition adds modern amenities, such as wedding facilities.
Jury: “It respects and enhances the spirit and values of the Benedictine monks embodied in the original building, while responding to a new set of goals for the religious community and a variety of code- and system-related improvements.”
Client: “I loved working with VJAA on the project. They are remarkable for their ability to search for primary concepts in the planning of a space. For example, the guesthouse was modeled based on the traditional form of the monastic cloister, which allowed for areas to be active and contemplative.” —Brother Robin Pierzina
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