embedded in the narthex wall of the church speak to the history and spirituality of this special place. One, a tiny Gothic
pinnacle, is from the Abbey Beck monastery in Normandy that
was destroyed in the French Revolution. The other, a carved
figure of a beast with a fishlike tail, is from the Benedictine
home abbey at Cluny. Built in 1960, the Portsmouth chapel
represented an even more radical flight of fancy. Despite tangible links to the past, the octagonal redwood and fieldstone
structure is a masterpiece of modern architecture.
Pietro Belluschi, one of the European immigrant
odernists who had so changed the face of American architecture, was the freshly appointed dean of architecture at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he was chosen
to design the chapel. He already had completed the original Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and the Equitable
Building in Portland, Oregon, one of the handsomest post-war skyscrapers anywhere.
Yet, the Cornell-trained Italian native might also be
membered for his creation of a regional modernism based
on the vernacular traditions of the Pacific Northwest, where
abstract expressionist sculptor Richard Lippold’s “Trinity”
holds Meinrad Burch’s stylized, almost shorthand
representation of the Son of God. Lippold’s network of delicate
wires lifts the statue into a state of never-ending ascension that
is enhanced by the theatrical lighting.
63 FLINT ST. 800-649-5909
BOSTON 333 STUART ST. 617-399-6500