Before and After: St. Joseph's Chapel at St. Dominic's Parish in Brick, New Jersey

We are pleased to present yet another installment in our ever popular 'before and after' series which considers the restoration or renovation of existing chapels to bring them back into greater alignment with the classical liturgical tradition. Today we turn to a project that was executed in the chapel of St. Joseph located within St. Dominic's Parish in Brick, New Jersey by Gardiner-Hall Associates.

The chapel in question, in its previous incarnation, had all of the usual features of a post-conciliar, North American liturgical space. A rather lacklustre wooden altar in table form, angular lines, a resurrected Christ instead of the crucified, acoustic deadening carpeting and so on. Here is a look at it:


Gardiner-Hall worked with the parish to undertake a modest renovation that has a big impact. In the first instance the carpeting was removed form the chapel. This is not only more practical, it also means a positive impact for the quality of the sacred music within the chapel. 

In addition, a communion rail was added to the chapel, thereby separating the sanctuary from the nave. 

The chairs were replaced by traditional pews and two statues in a Spanish baroque style were added to either side of the sanctuary.

However the real impact is mainly to be found in the installation of a new marble altar, ornamented with  the traditional six candlesticks, along with a central tabernacle and a triptych style gilt reredos with painted scenes from the life of St. Joseph.


A closer look at the altar and altarpiece:

While the main architecture of the chapel remains unchanged, the notable impact that a classical ordering and approach to the altar and sanctuary is noteworthy -- demonstrating that a great deal can be accomplished by relatively modest reorderings of these components.

For more information, please visit Gardiner-Hall's website or see them on social media.

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.