Two Hospital Chapels

I found and visited both of these around the same time, back in the fall. They’re both Mid-Century Modern buildings, but separated by about fifteen years and widely divergent in their styles.

The first is one of those buildings that’s hidden in plain sight: St. Joseph’s Hospital, easily visible from Lakeshore Drive across Lincoln Park, and somewhat famous for its marching walls of blue diamonds. Owing to my recurring inability to get out of the house early in the morning, I have yet to get a decent, sunlit view of the building’s public eastern face, so here’s a detail shot.

Saint Joseph Hospital, Chicago

Saint Joseph Hospital

Within, the 11th floor Dan Ryan Memorial Chapel is a consummate piece of 1960s architecture.

The narrow wings of the Y-shaped hospital tower allow the chapel to have faceted glass walls its long sides.

Saint Joseph Hospital

Saint Joseph Hospital

Various period details tie the place together, though careless addition of can lights and fire safety equipment have damaged the clean integrity of the design.

St. Joseph's chapel

Saint Joseph Hospital Dan Ryan Memorial Chapel

Saint Joseph Hospital Dan Ryan Memorial Chapel

The second chapel is west of the Loop, out on W. Division Street, at the Saint Mary Campus medical center.

Saint Mary Campus hospital chapel

The chapel, located on the second story, is as Brutalist as the exterior of the building. Upon entering, I immediately dubbed it “Our Lady of Board-Formed Concrete”. The design takes great advantage of the raw, rough-edged nature of the material.

Saint Mary Campus hospital chapel

Saint Mary Campus hospital chapel

Saint Mary Campus hospital chapel

The late 1960s and early 1970s tended to be particularly brutal in their depictions of Jesus on the cross. The angular styles common to the time really played up the agony of the crucifixion.

Saint Mary Campus hospital chapel

The chapel has a tall faceted glass window, but it’s located outside the chapel itself. Stranger still, it’s in a very narrow, high space where it can only be appreciated by standing beneath it and craning one’s neck upwards.

Saint Mary Campus hospital chapel

Saint Mary Campus hospital chapel


5 thoughts on “Two Hospital Chapels

  1. There’s a little “California style” apartment building on Ridge in Rogers Park by the architect of St. Joseph’s called “The Birdcage”…

  2. Is that the one with the circular staircase out front, framed by a series of vertical metal rods? It’s somewhere deep in my mental need-to-photograph list. Interesting that it’s by the same architect!

  3. Wow! Such great photos inside the hospital chapels. Those stained glass windows remind me strongly of one in a chapel my dad helped bring into being, back in Pennsylvania in the early 70s. The style’s very similar, semi-abstract, fairly large pieces. If I get it scanned, I’ll link to it. This is great to see the similarities. Love the blog!Swedish Colombian

  4. Yes, that is exactly the one. I have to dig up the magazine that it was published it and get it online. I think he did a/the house that was mentioned on Forgotten Chicago as being a mobsters house in Park Ridge.

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