Franck & Lohsen Architects

St. Benedict’s Chapel

Chesapeake, Virginia

The term “Tidewater” refers to the areas of Virginia where the water level is affected by the tides, as well as to an architectural style that sprang from the area during the founding of our country. Indicative features include brick from the native soil and white-painted-wood details in the Georgian-English style.

This new building for St. Benedict’s serves a small congregation practicing in the most traditional method, the Tridentine Rite. A very modest budget and use of the Tidewater style yields a simple, yet dignified, place for worship.

This new Catholic Church may be the first church built in the country specifically for the Tridentine Rite Mass since Vatican II. Incorporating all the historical elements of a Catholic Church, this project incorporates an historic communion rail, an Ad Orientum altar, stained glass windows, and salvaged altars—all in a local tidewater vernacular befitting the area in which it was built.