BOUDREAUX, Columbia-based architecture firm, is thrilled to announce that the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel at Clemson University has been honored with the prestigious International Design Award for Religious Architecture. The award was presented at the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) National Awards ceremony in San Francisco, California. This recognition highlights the Chapel’s exceptional design and its role on Clemson University’s campus.
The Samuel J. Cadden Chapel seamlessly incorporates natural materials and an expressive wood structure, creating a serene sanctuary that connects with the surrounding campus environment. The Chapel offers spaces for quiet meditation and reflection, including prayer nooks, private meditation rooms, and a tranquil garden with benches and boulders. It serves as a gathering place for students to support one another during times of tragedy and celebration.
“The project originated from the need for a welcoming gathering place on campus,” says architect Heather Mitchell. “It was the students who expressed this need. They desired a space where they could come together to celebrate, mourn, and honor their experiences at the University.”
BOUDREAUX has a longstanding and trusted relationship with Clemson University, having previously worked on notable projects such as the Douthit Hills Student Community and the Highway 93 Pedestrian Bridge. The Chapel presented a unique opportunity for the firm to merge their expertise in higher education and faith-based projects.
“The idea of a chapel on Clemson’s campus has been a continuous thread throughout my entire 25-year career at Clemson,” says Barret Anderson, a landscape architect in Clemson’s Planning and Design Office. “It is a delight to see the chapel become a reality, and the timing couldn’t be better. Today’s students face many different pressures and demands. It is so important that students feel like they have a place they can go to separate from the rigorous demands of a typical day. In a setting where mental and physical development is a primary mission, the chapel acknowledges the fact that spiritual growth is an important aspect of a student’s total well-being.”
The Chapel is named in honor of Samuel J. Cadden, a student who exemplified the spirit of the Chapel but tragically lost his life in an automobile accident after his sophomore year. The Cadden family played a pivotal role in the fundraising and design process, providing the lead gift that brought the years of student fundraising to fruition. Their involvement in the selection committee for the architect showcased their commitment to memorializing Sam’s memory in a meaningful way.
Located at a central campus crossroads, the Samuel J. Cadden Chapel invites students to step away from the demands of college life and find solace in a space of quiet reflection. The design seamlessly integrates with the natural landscape, utilizing large glass windows that blur the boundaries between the interior and exterior, allowing visitors to feel connected to the campus while finding peace within the Chapel. The structure, constructed using materials such as white oak, slate, and brick, exudes warmth and comfort. AIA’s Interfaith Design hosts the Religious Art and Architecture Design Award, managed by Faith & Form magazine and co-sponsored by the Interfaith Design Knowledge Community, honors the best in architecture, liturgical design and art for religious spaces.