TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- This week the University of Tampa will open the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values, a 15,000-square-foot building which will become one of the most architecturally significant buildings on campus. Designed by world renowned architects tvsdesign, the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values gives form to the inspiration of UT President Ronald Vaughn and major donors John and Susan Sykes.
"We used our global perspective to design the architecture of the Center to express values of faith and spirituality common to all cultures," said Robert R. Balke, principal with tvsdesign. "The Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values is a unique project for the University and we were honored to be part of the team that brought this from inspiration to reality."
According to Vaughn, John and Susan Sykes embraced the vision of strengthening student development through depth of character, strong values and sense of spirituality – and then generously gave a multi-million dollar gift to build a unique center to help shape students' lives. As a result, the University's vision for the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values was born.
"We chose tvsdesign as our architect, and along with their team, the Sykes, and our own internal team, we researched places of contemplation and worship in the world, searched the U.S. and Europe for materials and suppliers, listened to different types of organs and explored designs for future phases of the project," continued Vaughn. "The incredible amount of research and careful attention to detail at each stage of the project ensures the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values will be a special place for generations to come."
The Center encompasses a gallery, meeting room, two meditation rooms, and a soaring main hall with reconfigurable seating for 260 persons, expandable stage and one of Florida's largest pipe organs. The windows in the meditation rooms and doorways were designed by glass artist Guy Kemper and the granite and stainless steel sculpture in the meditation garden was designed by sculptor Clint Button. There are two beautiful gardens in the facility: the Sunrise Garden and the intimate Sykes Meditation Garden.
Located in the geographical center of campus, the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values occupies an important site; its location and future quadrangle plaza designed by tvsdesign will be the heart of campus, suitable for a wide range of campus events and student gatherings.
The project's overall design imbues a sense of rhythm and order using the architectural principle of the "divine" or "golden proportion," while use of light, the warmth of wood and other components suggest the ethereal nature of spirituality. "The building interior is shaped by light and sound; like two cupped hands held slightly apart, light enters from above and from the east. Daylight and music are reflected and diffused by the warm, curving interior forms of the undulating wooden walls," says Balke of tvsdesign.
Brick, granite and zinc metal comprise the primary materials of the building's exterior palette. The red brick relates the Sykes Chapel to the tradition of red brick construction at The University of Tampa. In addition to providing a stunning visual connection to the campus, the materials chosen will endure and perform well in both direct sunlight and severe weather.
"This dedication is long awaited by many people and for many different reasons," Vaughn said. "Having such a place will elevate the intellectual discourse at UT and nurture the development of character and values of our students."
tvsdesign is a global design firm providing planning, architecture and interior design services with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dubai and Shanghai. Recognized for its work in cultural arts, education, convention and public assembly design; tvsdesign has garnered numerous prestigious awards including the American Institute of Architects National Firm Award in 2002. For more information, visit www.tvsdesign.com.
About The University of Tampa
The University of Tampa is a private, residential university located on approximately 100 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, the University serves 6,500 students from 50 states and approximately 100 countries. Approximately 70 percent of full-time students live on campus, and more than half of UT students are from Florida. For more information, visit www.ut.edu.
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