Published: Dec 6, 2010
At night, the glow emanating from the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values
sets an contemplative mood. It’s as if the building is humming, filling the evening air with its presence.
the wall of glass windows, the chapel’s frame towers to the sky. The
hallway of arches on the south side of the building appear almost as
mirror images, inviting the curious to step in, take a walk and discover
Beginning Dec. 10, the UT and Tampa community
will have that chance. The dedication of the chapel will be held at 2
p.m. with tours and the first sounding of the 55-feet-tall, 3,184-pipe
Dobson organ named Opus 89. For members of the public who wish to
attend, RSVPs are requested at (813) 257-3019.
The Sykes Chapel
and Center for Faith and Values has been in the University's master plan
since 1996 and was designed to nurture the development of character and
values of UT’s 6,500 students.
“It’s stunning,” said Lynn
Dobson, president and artistic director of Dobson Pipe Organ Builders in
Lake City, IA. “The whole place is.”
It is a rarity for
architects and organ builders to work together from the beginning of a
project, but this particular organ was designed specifically for this
“I created nine organ designs for UT
about four years ago,” said Dobson. “I looked at the drawings for the
chapel and thought about what design would go with this architecture. It
was a matter of looking at the building the organ was going into and
looking at what kind of organ would harmonize with the architecture.”
design of the chapel is expressed as two praying hands, sheltering the
space within and allowing space and light to pass between them. Brick,
granite and zinc make up the building’s exterior. The red brick relates
the Sykes Chapel to the red brick construction throughout campus, and
the zinc roof references the stainless steel minarets atop Plant Hall.
materials for various details were brought in from as far away as
China, Italy and Germany, and an internationally known glass artist
contributed to the windows. The Sunrise Garden and Sykes Meditation
Garden surrounding the chapel were designed with students in mind,
creating a place for them to relax from the hurried pace of campus life.
Dobson, the organ complements the creations throughout the chapel. As
an art educator in his early professional years, Dobson said designing
Opus 89 is his expression art these days, just on a large scale.
“I’m basically a sculptor, and this is the ultimate piece of art,” he said. “It’s exciting to hear it come to life.”
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