Carr Chapel gets ready for its close-up

19Jul10

Built in 1952, Mies’ only religious building is in the process of being restored to the quiet beauty of its intended function. Dubbed “the God Box” by generations of IIT students, Carr Memorial Chapel serves as a non-denominational place for gathering, worship, and engagement.

Fifty-plus years after completion, Carr Chapel was in a state of serious decline. The Mies Society, which raises funds to restore and preserve core buildings on IIT’s Mies campus, launched a fundraising campaign to save Carr Chapel.

Through generous support from the IIT community at large, funds are being raised and services donated to ensure that Carr Chapel can once again function as the spiritual center for IIT. Exterior work has been completed. Currently, $350,000 still needs to be raised to finish work on the building’s interior.

Most recently, the curtain that spans the back wall of the chapel has been replaced, in gorgeous form.

Mies Society Board member Bob Kleinschmidt—consulting with original project architect, Gene Summers—spearheaded the effort to recreate the chapel curtain. Fabric was specially woven in Italy by Donghia and then pleated and hung by Cornel Erdbeer of Ludwig Interiors. The curtain fabric, hung using Mies’ desired inverted pleating system, is an ivory pongee slubbed silk that matches the original fabric as closely as possible. Both Donghia, Inc. and Erdbeer generously donated materials and services in honor of this important project.

As with all restoration projects, support is welcome from all corners. Interested in contributing to this historic effort? Contact the Mies Society to find out how you can make help make a difference to Carr Chapel.

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