Brother Martin High School James B. Branton ChapelNew Orleans, Louisiana
Conceived as an austere, quiet building, the James B. Branton Chapel at New Orleans' Brother Martin High School focuses first on light. The airy narthex is replete with natural light and offers views to new landscape improvements and access to a terrace for gatherings. The chapel is filled with indirect light from a narrow skylight that stretches the length of the worship space, sloping ever upward. At the skylight’s terminus is a full-height wood reredos. Frosted glazing casts subtle patterns and colors across the chapel walls, filtered through multiple glass types arranged in the reredos. The two exterior walls of the worship space feature strong and vertical windows, deeply recessed in the massive walls to admit light but gently limit views. A polished concrete floor, austere white walls and acoustical plaster on the sloped ceiling make for a numinous environment in the glow of the skylight. Warm wood at the stations of the cross provide a bright accent. The chapel was formally dedicated on November 19th, 2011.
Brother Martin High School previously commissioned Waggonner & Ball to develop a master plan for the campus of this all-male school in New Orleans’ Gentilly neighborhood. This plan envisions renovations of existing buildings as well as four new buildings to add classrooms, laboratories, a library, specialized training and instructional areas, a large multipurpose room and a chapel, as well as reconfiguration of athletic fields and facilities. More than simply providing new program spaces, the plan is conceived to create a new overall sense of place and campus.