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Glavin Family Chapel, Babson College

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1997, William Rawn Architects. College Rd.

In 1919, Roger Babson, a pioneer in statistical information for investment firms, founded the Babson Institute (renamed Babson College in 1969), now set among 370 acres of hilly woodlands. The original red brick Georgian Revival buildings along Forest Street and Wellesley Avenue established the institutional image of the school. In the later 1990s, an aggressive expansion campaign at the core of the campus added the Arthur Blank Center for Entrepreneurship (1998); F. W. Olin Hall (1996); and the Donald W. Reynolds Campus Center, Richard Sorenson Performing Arts Center, and Glavin Family Chapel (1997), the last three by William Rawn Architects.

The Glavin Family Chapel provides a non-denominational space for small religious services in a thirty-foot-high cube set into the hillside opposite the new student center. The walls facing the campus are Deer Isle granite, and those facing the hillside are glass. Natural images are incorporated into the entrance doors, stained glass, and altar, while allusions to sailing, a passion of the school's founder, are found in the hull-like ceiling and aluminum sail-like tower on the exterior. The award-winning Glavin Family Chapel joins a distinguished group of small religious buildings at Boston area universities—Eero Saarinen's MIT Chapel (MT14; 1955), Harrison and Abramowitz's Three Chapels (WT8.6; 1955) at Brandeis University, and Moshe Safdie's Class of 1954 Chapel (see AB10; 1992) at the Harvard Business School.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


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Keith N. Morgan, "Glavin Family Chapel, Babson College", [Wellesley, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 514-514.

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