Heinz Memorial Chapel in Early February
On February 3, 2007 Carl and I did an evening wedding at Heinz
Chapel. We've done quite a few weddings there since 1989 and as
we always arrive a bit early, I have my time nearly alone inside it
to explore, to photograph, or just to sit and let it fill my eyes.
The photos below are presented in the order in which I took them
this particular evening. It was a cold, windy, snowy evening, with wind-chills well below zero and even though the Chapel is not
very old, having been dedicated in 1938, the very fact of the windy
coldness outside served somehow to give it a certain feeling of medievalness as you sat within.
This is my single most favorite feature in the chapel...these spiral
stairs tucked between a column and the wall. I look at them and
can actually taste the desire to ascend them, but, alas, they are
off-limits. The first couple of times I was inside Heinz, I don't think
I even really noticed them, but now they are the first thing I
greet when I arrive.
There are four 73-foot tall windows, two on either side of the
transept and they are different from most stained glass windows
in that they have an equal number of men and women depicted.
These are some of the smaller aisle windows in the transept.
This is the top of one of those aisle windows.
A wider view of "my" spiral steps, showing their location relative
to the tall transept windows. At one point, i was the only
person sitting in the whole chapel and the organist warmed
up by playing "ode to joy" full out and it was the most marvelous
thing to be sitting there as i was with every bit of air around
me filled with...that!! I absolutely adore that piece, and to be
in this place with that reverberating off the walls was so
magnificent. It just fills you and lifts you so that you are
rather floating through the grand space with the music itself.
Looking toward the altar fairly early-on, before all the flowers
had been set in place or the candles added. The wood in the
narthex screen, pulpit, choir stalls, reredos, etc. is all English
pollard oak. The chapel is interdenominational, but the Virgin
is there as the couple we were marrying were both Catholic.
Top of the pulpit. I love to walk around, studying all the carving.
Carl ready. There is sort of a secret door in the narthex screen
behind him that he can go in and out of. The bride had chosen
red amaryllis and roses and white tree hydrangeas for her flowers.
A view from behind the pulpit looking down the length of the
transept toward the gallery windows. Because the chapel is
actually on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, it has a
lot of literary symbolism in it. Those three windows represent St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Sun", John Bunyan's "The
Pilgrim's Progress", and "The Quest for the Holy Grail" from Sir
Thomas Malory's "Le Morte d'Arthur."
The carved kneelers in the narthex.
The side of the pulpit looking toward the altar.
Looking across the transept. The spiral steps are behind that central column.
Looking up toward the gallery.
Just inside the main entrance.
A diagonal view across the transept from the other side.
I was kinda tickled how the light rays from this fixture look
The spiral steps through an aisle arch.
The chancel windows.
This one came out rather, um, interesting...and I decided to
keep it. Above the arch is the base of the spiral steps and
through the arch is the door that Carl and the groom, etc.
come out when the wedding begins. For some reason I rather
like the color blur of the chancel in contrast with the solId
greyness of the side.
More straight-on view of the chancel windows.
Now the flowers have been added to the pews. You can see
again the door through the arch where Carl will come out.
The pews are made from Appalachian Mountain oak. Now the
candles have been added and it looks much more "finished."
The setting...just before the wedding begins.
Here we go...
And then it is done...
Immediately after the wedding. When our daughter, Laura,
was married here in Dec. of 1995, the narthex screen was banked
with evergreens lit with white lights and all across the front
were red poinsettias.
The lectern, looking toward the altar.
The top of the narthex screen.
After that last picture of the narthex screen, I went outside
by myself for a while to see what shots I might be able to get.
The wedding hadn't started until 4:30 and this was early February,
so I wasn't sure of the light, AND there was snow and ice
everywhere, so I couldn't really get very far out from the chapel
to take a long shot of it. The below-zero wind was whipping my
hair at 30 miles an hour, at least, if not more, as I took these.
If you are on the front steps of the chapel, this is what you see
directly in front of you...the Cathedral of Learning, a sky scraper classroom. On the main level are what is known as the
"Nationality Rooms", 26 classrooms done up in Classical,
Byzantine, Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, Tudor, Empire,
Minka, and folk styles. The purpose was to recreate cultural
periods prior to 1787, when the University of Pittsburgh was begun.
They are very elaborate, with period furnishings, inlaid wood,
stained glass, carved stone, etc. and set you right down in the
midst of cultures from Europe, Africa, Scandinavia, Asia, and
the Middle East.
The front doors to the chapel.
Top of the chapel...was about as far back as I could get due to
ice on the sidewalks.
Side of the chapel. It's called a chapel because it's not quite
big enough to be an actual cathedral, but there's something
very lovely about the intimacy of its size. It's made of Indiana
limestone, like so many buildings, and reminds me of a small
version of our National Cathedral in Washington, DC, combined
with a few touches of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, both of which
Straight on of the front doors. Each of them weighs 800
pounds and when I wanted to get back inside, the wind was
pushing straight against them. You have to pull them outward
with one of those large rings you see there and it was a bit of
an effort for me to get inside again!
Front of chapel, showing doors, tympanum, etc.
Looking up the south side of the building.
The doors and tympanum.
Back inside...the steps to the gallery.
Couldn't resist one more shot of the spiral steps (to left of
Transept ceiling and clerestory windows.
We had finished and gone back to our car. I had gotten into
the car and then stepped out again into the street to get this
final view as it shows the chapel from the south side more
completely than I was able to get before.
BACK TO "OTHER PLACE"
ON TO HEINZ CHAPEL & THE NATIONALITY ROOMS
ON TO HEINZ CHAPEL ON sEPTEMBER 7, 2012