Today, The American Institute of Architects named the Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle, designed by Steven Holl Architects, the winner of its 2022 Twenty-Five Year Award. AIA announced the honor during an awards ceremony at the A'22 conference in Chicago, lauding the project as a "building that has set a precedent for the last 25 to 35 years and continues to set standards of excellence for its architectural design and significance," according to an AIA press release.
The project traces its roots back to 1994 when Father William Sullivan—a former Seattle University president who passed in 1996—began planning for a new spiritual hub for the campus. After conducting a series of interviews, he awarded the commission to Steven Holl, FAIA, and his design team after they presented "a lecture on the phenomenology of architecture," according to the same press release. The design itself draws inspirations from the teachings and writing of St. Ignatius, a 16th-century Spanish priest who helped found the Jesuit order, as well as from other Ignatian locations in Barcelona and Rome.
Described by the firm as "seven bottles of light in a stone box," the 6,100-square-foot project embodies an Ignatian metaphor for the divine spirit: light. The chapel's irregular roof captures light from all directions, channeling it into different volumes, each representing an element of Jesuit Catholic worship. Sited to further articular Seattle University's existing campus, the project comprises concrete panels tilted upward into place, anchoring its roof's soaring forms.
At nighttime, light glows from within the chapel, transforming its volumes into "beacons shining in all directions out across the campus," according to Steven Holl Architects.
Past winners of the Twenty-Five Year Award include Burton Barr Phoenix Central Library by Will Bruder Architects and DWL Architects + Planners (2021); Conjunctive Points—The New City in Culver City, Calif., by Eric Owen Moss Architects (2020); Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates’ Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery in London (2019); Pei Cobb Freed & Partners' design for The Grand Louvre—Phase 1 in Paris (2017); EHDD's design for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif. (2016); and the Broadgate Exchange House in London, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (2015). AIA did not confer a Twenty-Five Year Award in 2018.
You can see more winners of the 2022 AIA Honor Awards here.