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Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

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1986–1987, E. Fay Jones and Maurice Jennings. 504 Memorial Dr.
  • (Courtesy Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel, Joe Wittkop, photographer)
  • (Photograph by D Hughes)
  • (Photograph by D Hughes)
  • (Photograph by D Hughes)
  • (Photograph by D Hughes)
  • (Photograph by D Hughes)

This building, designed after the more famous Thorncrown Chapel (CR17), contributed further to Jones’s national reputation as a designer with a refined sensitivity to chapel design and his extraordinary skill in relating building to site. Named for the wife of a Bella Vista (see BN14) developer, Cooper Chapel stands on the brow of a wooded rounded ridge of the Ozark Mountains. The chapel, not visible from the landscaped entrance to the site, is approached by a paved footpath that curves among indigenous pines, oaks, and dogwoods, delaying for some distance a clear view of the building. The facade, centered on a pair of wooden doors surrounded by a patterned wall of glass, seems comfortably sheltered by the generous overhang of a steeply gabled roof. The door is framed by an expanding translucent grid formed by the slender arches which rise steeply to form a pointed arch, reminiscent of Gothic design. The wooden door seems to be a generator of the arch shape, moving outward and upward in a repeated expanding pattern. Above the door in the upper portion of the redwood gable is a circular window, which makes direct reference to Gothic rose windows. Inside, the slender rectangular nave is divided by a central aisle with flanking pews and sheltered under a web of intersecting steel arches. The use of steel allowed Jones to create a more delicate covering, and light filters to the interior from a ridgeline skylight through the network of structural members.

Writing Credits

Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors


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Cyrus A. Sutherland with Gregory Herman, Claudia Shannon, Jean Sizemore Jeannie M. Whayne and Contributors, "Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel", [Bella Vista, Arkansas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Arkansas

Buildings of Arkansas, Cyrus A. Sutherland and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 32-33.

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