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Thanks Giving Chapel

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Submitted By nikiwang1
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A Dallas businessman Peter Steward was the first to visualize that in the heart of downtown Dallas there should be a place for people to worship and thanksgiving to our community, nation and the world. At the same time, a central gathering or a meditation space for office crowd to relax or to relieve the stress from work. The non-profit Thanks-Giving Foundation commissioned the postmodern architect Philip Johnson to design the Square and was finished in 1976. The Thanksgiving Square is designed in a triangle shape landscape that is surrounded by trees, grass and manmade waterfall. The site is in between the Pacific, Ervay, and Bryan Streets. The main entrance of the Square is on the Pacific Avenue. On the right hand side of the entrance there is a Wall of Praise with Rockwell Mosaic that illustrates “The Golden Rule.” After visit the Wall of Praise there is a Ring of Thanks that is made of aluminum and covered by gold allow the visitor to pass through and speak their thanks out loud they will hear the echo back. Behind the Ring there is a Thanks Bell Tower with three large bronze bells, and it rings every hour. After visiting the entrance, there is a long pathway leading to the Chapel. The pathway was designed in a slope below street level surrounded by aqueducts. About half way down the pathway on the right hand side there are stairs leading to the Wall of Presidents that made of concrete. The Wall is surrounded by trees and a waterfall wall. As people step into this space the waterfall masks the noise and traffic so one can relax and recharge again. After visiting the Wall of Presidents, keep strolling downward to lead to the focal point of the square the Chapel of Thanksgiving. The chapel is sit at the highest point on the site. This spiral shaped chapel is made of white Texas marble aggregate. Below the chapel is the Hall of Thanksgiving. This is an exhibit area where the story of the American Thanksgiving is stored; also there is a small shop for gifting and for people to make donations. Opposite to the Hall of Thanksgiving is the entrance to the chapel. The stairs connect to the bridge that connects to the chapel entrance. Before entering the chapel, there is a dove engraved on the glass window above the doorway, which was designed by a glass engraver John Hutton, to symbolize “The Spirit of Thanksgiving.” Inside the chapel, a marble cubic altar sits on a granite base surrounded by chairs. The ceiling is topped with the tall spiral stained glass window “Glory Window” that is designed by a French stained glass artist Gabriel Loire.
The Thanksgiving Chapel and the Little Chapel in the Wood are both modern style architecture; however, the interior components of the Little Chapel in the Wood such as ceiling beams, pendant light fixtures, and pews are handcrafted by students and faculty members at Texas Women University with the personality infused into products. Where as, the interior components of the Thanksgiving Chapel such as chairs, fabric wall panel, and carpet are designed in a simplistic form for the machine to easy mass-produce. Both chapels are surround by nature, grove of trees. Likewise, both spaces using the stained glass to bring the daylight into the chapel, at the same time, the industrial light fixture as the secondary light source. Moreover, there are no religious symbols dominating in both spaces, both chapels are dedicated to pursuit as a universal concept having meaning to all faiths and religions.
Today, people are physical and psychological overwhelmed by the fast pace life. We all need a sacred space like the Thanksgiving Square, which can provide us a quiet and restful space to strengthen our spiritual roots. Also, the Square is a place for us to express thanks and bless of our life. As people approach to the entrance of the chapel they immediately create a sense of transcendence. For example, to walk up to the stairs a meaning to reach for new hope, the bridge that runs over a sloping waterfall is to calm and refresh one’s mind before entering the chapel. In addition, the exterior of the chapel is a shell-like shape that spiral toward the sky and the spiral stained glass window ceilings are symbolizing “infinite upward reach of the human spirit”. Waterfall Wall Staircase to the chapel Bridge to the chapel

Slopping Waterfall “The Spirit of Thanksgiving” Spiral Stained Glass Marble Altar The Thanks-Giving Chapel

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[ 1 ]. Thanks-Giving Square. Thanks. Dallas, Texas: Thanks-Giving Foundation, 2012

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