LOS ANGELES, Aug. 30, 2018 – World renowned Danish artists Peter Brandes and Maja Lisa Engelhardt, who have been in large part responsible for a renaissance in Danish church interiors, brought their expertise to Biola University in Los Angeles to renovate a campus chapel. For the first time in their careers, the married couple collaborated to add a new dimension of sacred space, reverence, and beauty to Biola’s Calvary Chapel using unprecedented technology.
While preserving the original architecture designed by John Andre Gougeon, the artists transformed the 1976 chapel with contemporary art in the form of stained glass windows, a gilded wall relief, innovative lighting, and re-designed architectural elements including significant changes to the interior design.
Engelhardt created a 24K gilded relief titled “Resurrection” (17.5 feet tall, 31 feet wide) and a 500-pound gilded bronze cross sculpture installed above the building’s entrance. Brandes created 32 hand-cut stained glass windows depicting biblical narratives.
Using innovative new applications of LED technology to light the stained glass windows, an internally lit sheet of acrylic glass containing nano-crystals, allows illumination of the windows both outside and inside, day or night, and is the first of its kind in the world. The outer pane of each window portrays a biblical theme in black-and-white and the inner pane repeats the motif in brilliant color.
The gilded wall relief sculpture entitled “Resurrection,” installed on the entire west wall, bathes the interior space in golden light and seeks to capture the mystery of Easter morning. The sculptural image features an abstract representation of the risen Christ as he leaves the tomb. Originally sculpted from 5 tons of clay and cast in plaster, the sculpture is gilded in 24k gold and additional varieties to highlight the figure of the sculpted wall.
“It is our hope that this visual and architectural transformation will draw visitors into a new depth of worship and stand as a testimony to Biola’s biblically centered mission for generations to come,” said Biola President Barry H. Corey.
The chapel, funded by a lead gift from philanthropist Roberta Ahmanson, will be dedicated on Friday, Sept. 7.
The goal of the renovation is to enrich worship services and serve as visual testimony to Biola’scontinued commitment as an institution of Christian faith.