The Chapel + Cultural Center (C+CC) was conceived as a functional multi-purpose facility, drawing together the sacred and the secular, religious services and performing asselaer rts, educational and social events. Serving both the RenPolytechnic Institute (RPI) community and our neighbors in Troy, it is a meeting place where "gown and town" can work together toward their mutual understanding and acceptance.
The C+CC is the regular home of the Catholic Community at Rensselaer which is formed as the University Parish of Christ Sun of Justice. Protestants, Jews and Muslims use the C+CC for worship on various occasions. Ecumenical services are held from time to time in the building.
The Main Auditorium
The main auditorium is a more or less square room, which can be separated from the Chapel area in front by sliding panel doors. Stack chairs and modular stage units of various heights make possible directional or arena orientations of the room. Theatrical lighting outlets also facilitate various orientations. The room is equipped for the performing arts, as well as use for large church services, social events, etc. The room has a built-in cinema screen. The stained glass window in the rear features an unwinding spiral, suggesting the life/growth process. It was designed by Ade Bethune of Newport, and executed by Carl Paulson of Upton, Massachusetts. The seal of the Rensselaer Newman Foundation hangs between the entry doorways; it was designed by Graham Carey of Benson, Vermont and carved by Kenneth Eager of the Guild of Sts. Joseph and Dominick in England. The corpus, which hangs from the rear wall is the work of Eric Gill, http://www.ericgill.110mb.com/. There is a fine baroque, single manual, 11 rank, 614 pipe organ originally built in the 19th century and rebuilt by Sidney Chase of Worcester, New York for the C+CC. The action of the organ is entirely mechanical (trackers).There is also a Steinway grand piano in the hall. Acoustics are particularly good for musical instruments. The alphabets (Hebrew, Greek, and Roman), designed by Edward M. Catich of Davenport, Iowa, and painted on the floor of the hall, give the room letters which are the components of words which enable it to "speak" to the people.
The Hallway Gallery and Baptismal Font
The walls of the entrance hallway and baptismal area are equipped for gallery exhibitions which change every four to eight weeks. Larger exhibitions may also use the Lounge-Conference Room (see below). The baptismal font runs continuously and is big enough for baptism by immersion. The Pascal candlestick in the corner was made by Sean Black of Pykern, Sussex, England.
The Sanctuary Area
The Sanctuary is used for weekday and other small services. It can be separated from the main hall by the retraction of the wall panels. The 15th-century Spanish polychromed stone Pieta presently on the table is on loan from Robert Petricca '66 of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. George Nakashima of New Hope, Pennsylvania made the Chapel furniture, including the altar. The corpus on the crucifix was made by Nancy Price Carey of Benson, Vermont, and the crucifix itself was fabricated with William McLoughlin of Troy, a member of our Board of Trustees, a parishioner, and an RPI alumnus. A 2007 advent wreath was given in memory of Rip Dunn, Professor of Civil Engineering at RPI, by his wife Patricia Dunn; this iron wreath was designed by Mark Suprun of Hawks Mountain Ironworks in North Springfield, Vermont. The hanging of Christ sitting in majesty which hangs behind the presiding priest's chair from time to time is the work of the Benedictine Sisters of Cockfosters, London, England..
The lounge-conference room can be divided into two areas by a soundproof, retractable wall. These rooms are serviced by a kitchen which is connected to them via a sliding serving door. The chairs in front of the fireplace are the Wassily Chair, designed by Marcel Breuer. The Prague Chairs used in the conference room are represented in the Museum of Modern Art, as are the Breuer chairs. The two eight-foot tables are the work of George Nakashima. In the lounge is an important polychromed 15th-century piece of sculpture, "The Crowning of the Virgin," given to the C+CC by a recent alumnus who is presently a trustee of the Rensselaer Newman Foundation, Robert Petricca of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. This piece of sculpture is usually on the stereo cabinet surrounded by a pair of 18th-century Italian candlesticks.