The Cathedral of Hope, Interfaith Peace Chapel, in Dallas. Photo courtesy Steve Cooley, Carpe Vita Photography.
The 8,000-square-foot, 225-seat Interfaith Peace Chapel was originally designed during the 1990s by renowned architect Philip Johnson to serve as the cornerstone of the Cathedral of Hope’s campus. The building provides space for conferences, seminars, interfaith services, weddings, memorial services and other community functions.
At its highest point, the chapel is 46 feet tall and stretches 106 feet across. The structure’s form is created by two wall membranes, an exterior and interior that are composed of similar, but separate, geometries. To create an experience of wonderment for parishioners, Johnson designed each wall surface to warp and curve without the use of parallel lines or 90-degree angles. The unusual forms, in Johnson’s view, would give visitors pause and evoke a transcendent experience to prepare them to hear and learn the Word of God.
Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design services, connection design services, as well as building information modeling services for the one-story steel-frame chapel. A structural BIM was created in Tekla for extensive clash checking between the steel frame and curved asymmetrical internal and external skin membranes. The use of a Tekla model provided two advantages for the structural frame. First, it provided bidders with a model that helped ensure more accurate bids from structural steel subcontractors. Second, the model helped determine accurate material quantities in fewer steps and bidders could visualize the complexity of the structural frame and have confidence that the frame would remain coordinated with the building envelope during construction.
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