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Wilcox Chapel

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1976, R. L. Wilson and J. D. King

The college chapel has a striking setting on the brow of a steep hill. On the campus side, a free-standing, dramatically over-scaled, openwork campanile of Cor-Ten steel provides a strong vertical contrast to the horizontally oriented building. The exterior of the chapel is faced with rubblestone laid in a purposefully rugged pattern, perfectly appropriate to the West Virginia hills. The chapel's overall form, with broad masonry expanses, deceptively subtle curves, and swooping roofline seem a distant echo of a building in the hills of southern France: Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp.

The interior is even more dramatic than the exterior promises. The entrance is at the mezzanine level, midway between two tiers of steeply banked seats arranged in three angular groupings. Everything focuses on a tall, angled, clear glass window that provides a spectacular view of downtown Philippi surrounded by forested hills, far, far below.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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