Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shutze's Goddard Chapel at Grady Hospital

Let's visit. I'll show you the way.

The big bend in Atlanta's downtown connector is the "Grady Curve." There sits the massive blond brick "H" that is Henry W. Grady Memorial Hospital. "Grady" is the one of Atlanta's most familiar icons, seen on every trip to the airport. It's THE downtown landmark for our traffic reports. Like most Atlantans I'd never been there, until Wednesday.

In advance of the Shutze Awards on February 12, I trekked to Grady looking for the Goddard Chapel.

The Grady colossus overwhelmed me. This is the new, heavy deco portico; or is it a porte-cochere.

Remember, we're looking for this elaborate pulpit with tester.

Map Tip: South on Courtland, left on Gilmer, right on Jesse Hill. Park in the big deck with the McDonalds. Now that I know, it's easy to get there. Grady's main entrance is up a gentle ramp to the curved green main entrance.

We're looking for the red curtains on bricked up windows, the Ten Commandments in gold leaf.

I was on the ground floor. I was close, the chapel is on the 1st floor. I asked directions at the desk in the atrium.


"That way to the elevators then up the 1st floor." "That way" led to the main lobby elevators.

I rode up to the first and looked for the Narthex of the Goddard.

That chaplains' offices are next to the chapel. There are plenty of signs. It's down here.

The black and white marble floor gave it away.

The narthex has niches.

The many chandeliers and sconces cast many shadows.

It's there for anyone.

I didn't hear the tiny organ.

The box pews have kneelers.

Outside and inside this quiet haven Grady's humane business carries on.

The restoration of the chapel won a 2010 Shutze Award for Craftsmanship. Here is the citation by Calder Loth.

Goddard Memorial Chapel
Suzanne M Begin for
Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation
*Our next awards category is Craftsmanship. We cannot have lasting architecture without decent craftsmanship. And we cannot preserve our architectural monuments without skilled craftsmen involved with maintenance and restoration. This was vividly demonstrated in the restoration of Philip Shutze’s Goddard Chapel, located in the Grady Memorial Hospital here in Atlanta.

This jewel-like space had been subjected to well-meaning but misguided treatment over the years. The original hand-rubbed paint finishes had been whitewashed. The gold leaf details were spray-painted with cheap gold paint which blackened. The windows were blocked up, removing natural light. A crude HVAC system played havoc with the quiet ambiance. Its original crimson damask curtains disappeared.

*Through the sponsorship of the Henry W. Grady Health System Foundation, to whom this award is given, the chapel was meticulously and lovingly restored to its original character.

This included the *restoration of original finishes; replication of the damask curtains and new window blinds, *carefully reproducing the curtain tassels; *repair of damaged carvings; restoration of many of the fittings; and installation of a new lighting system with special lighting for the blocked windows.

*The award is accepted by Suzanne M. Begin, Executive Director of the foundation. Congratulations to you and your foundation for this work of love.


  1. The chapel is delightful. But I have to comment on the nightmarish Post-Modern part of the hospital: it is frighteningly overpowering as portrayed in these shots!

  2. It is overwhelming. The way most folks see it, from our clogged interstate connector, the new part is very interesting. Up close, it's just gigantic. But the short walk from the parking lot into the curved entrance lobby didn't feel too bad. Shutze's entrance to Emory Hospital feel much better though.

  3. ...did you know that the original grady still the right of the building as you one travels south to the airport...over 80 years ago my daddy was carried there after crashing his soap box derby car ...we never made that curve without hearing his sweet daddy is gone...but the little grady still stands...(as a native atlantan it makes me weep to think of all we have torn glad the chapel is still there...but the new building is dreadful)

  4. Yes the whole Grady complex deserves a bit of architecture tourist love. It's an important, hard working place supported by taxes, civic minded benefactors and managed with best intentions. But it's not where the gentry get their care. Most Atlantans just see it from the highway, hear about it's perpetually difficult finances, and know that it the go-to trauma center for Georgia.

  5. Thank you for posting this. I have been meaning to get down there. My godmother's (the Sea Island one) family is the Goddards and they are very proud of the restoration. Shutze did a beautiful job on this chapel. I love the size and perfection.

  6. My parents were married here! Their 40th wedding anniversary is this year in June and we are going to surprise them there now that it has been restored to the original way my mother remembers it!

  7. I love the new building - think it's glorious. The Grady Chapel is a great job of restoration, I've never seen a hospital chapel like that in 35 years of nursing. Florence N would approve!
    Linda McD

  8. Another of Shutze's "enclosed" chapels is the Little Chapel inside the Glen Memorial Activities building, on the N. Decatur Road side. Equally incredible for it's comprehensive design, my parents (1949) and one of my sister's (1978) were married there. Well worth a visit.


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