Chapel and Skinner Organ
Although Girard College is a non-denominational school, and always has been, the Chapel is one of the defining features of the campus.
Built from 1931-1933 at the height of the Great Depression, the Chapel was designed with function in mind. The Thomas and Martin architectural firm, known for work at the University of Pennsylvania, was selected through a competition to work on the Chapel; they designed the building with many exterior doors so that large groups of students could easily come and go, and with an ambulatory system of hallways to allow for the circulation of people throughout the building without disturbing events in the center auditorium.
The Chapel is filled with pictures, iconography, and storytelling images that are representative of many religions. The style of the Chapel is representative of the 1930s, and includes ornate light fixtures, a gold ceiling, marble floors, and a Greek key pattern that appears throughout the structure.
Also included in the Chapel is the fifth largest pipe organ and the largest Skinner organ in Philadelphia. The Girard College Chapel organ (Opus 872) is the final instrument personally designed and finished by Ernest Skinner. Coinciding with the construction of the Chapel, design work on this organ began in early 1931 and was completed in 1933. The architects of the Chapel intended for the organ to be installed mostly at the front of the building, however the plans were altered because the organ needed more space: the entire organ was installed in the attack, located one hundred feet above the floor and high enough to permit all but the very longest pedal pipes to stand at their full height in the space.
The chapel is available for rentals; contact us for details.
Want to know about future concerts in the Chapel? Email us to be added to our events list!