Architecture

Herrick Memorial Chapel

The architecture of Herrick Memorial Chapel incorporates functional flexibility and symbolic strength.

Occidental asked for a structure large enough for five hundred persons, yet so designed that one hundred would feel at ease. The structure needed to have the versatility to house any type of liturgical worship, religious drama and combined organ, vocal and instrumental music. Architects Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey met this challenge by designing a classical cruciform structure with modern lines.

While maintaining two characteristic features of Occidental campus architecture, the light wall and red roof, they introduced a distinct, gracefully flowing mass into a campus dominated by square and rectangular shapes.

Using sculptured reinforced concrete, Ladd and Kelsey produced a shell 144 feet long, 100 feet wide and 50 feet high, composed of eight freestanding "L" shaped units which are united and capped by a convex roof and central dome.

As opposed to one large hall, the cruciform shape permitted a visual reduction of space thereby creating a sense of intimacy. All interior lines flow to the communion table on the raised dais which is surrounded by clusters of pews in the transepts, nave and choir.