Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rick Anderson said I should see the Prickett Chapel

Last Wednesday I found myself following the security guard's truck. I was looking for the open air chapel and I was lost.

The day before I'd asked landscape architect Richard Anderson what I should see. He said, "The chapel at Westminster." So There I was.

It's the Barbara Johnson Prickett Chapel at Westminster-School Atlanta. If you aren't from Atlanta, Westminster is among the most pretentious private schools in Atlanta. The campus is wooded, hilly, and beautiful.

The security gaurd led me to the driveway of the president's house and there was the chapel, modest and picturesque.

It's new, dedicated April 19, 2010, but the building technology is ancient.

Just 4 rows of pews.

It's open air.

It doesn't impress with size or decorative details. It's the stones.


It's the stones.

You can see it all in a few minutes. But the longer you look, the more you see.

Slow down and linger.

Look up to see the scissor beams. The ceiling reveals its age, needs another 100 years of patina.

Look up to see the inscriptions.

The roof slate is all shadow grids and diagonals.

Smooth, variegated, rough beveled edges, craftsmanship galore.

They built it in New York, and shipped it to Atlanta for reassembly.
"The chapel consists of eight arches made from Adirondack granite and a twenty-seven foot granite tower located at the rear of the building. Originally commissioned to Terry Lamphere, the Westminster Chapel was primarily carved by Alan M. Webster Jr and Curt vonSchilgen. All stone is granite from the Adirondack region in upstate New York."

The tower door is in shadows. Make sure to give it a good look.

Look closely.

Thanks to Rick for the suggestion. Thanks to the kind Westminster guard for showing me the way.

Nota bene:  Rick Anderson did the landscape design pro bono. He didn't ask me to blog it. My impression:  I didn't "notice" the landscape. Chapel and landscape seemed like one integrated thing.


  1. It is a beautiful building and one I'd like to see. It was good to see you again the other night – it's been a long time since I've been out.

  2. Fabulous structure, thanks for posting about it! I assume this is not generally open to the public? Would love to have a visit and maybe a sketch or two.

  3. It's wide open, on Westminster's "perimeter" at the entrance to the president's driveway.

  4. Did you mean prestigious instead of pretentious? I don't think the school is pretending to be anything it isn't.

  5. You can see more of Terry Lamphere's work on his facebook page"Lamphere Stoneworks". New project is a fireplace building being constructed for Camp Topridge in the Adirondacks.


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