The Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values at the University of Tampa allows students the opportunity to balance their educational and intellectual development with their personal and spiritual growth relative to life values and goals. Funding for the project was provided in part by a lead gift from the building’s namesakes—John and Susan Sykes—who embraced the vision of strengthening student development through depth of character, strong values and an individual sense of spirituality.
The unique structure is one of the most architecturally significant buildings at the University of Tampa, a private, secular university serving 6,500 students from 50 states and approximately 100 countries. Located in the geographical center of campus, the chapel/center serves student organizations with religious and/or spiritual affiliations, the overall student population and the local Tampa community. An adjacent planned quadrangle plaza will be utilized for a wide range of campus events and student gatherings.
The 15,000 sq. ft. structure includes a main hall with seating for 260 people for lectures, ceremonies, discussions and musical performances including those with its 55 foot tall custom-built organ. In addition, the facility offers meeting rooms, two meditation rooms and a gallery. Brick, high-performance glass, granite and RHEINZINK® comprise the primary materials of the building’s exterior palette.
Design for the project was provided by tvsdesign, Atlanta. “The chapel/center was designed to elicit spiritual, sensory and emotional responses by the building users,” said Robert Balke, principal. “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.”
“The project demonstrates the highest attention to design and the discerning use of quality materials in order to give form to the University’s vision,” Balke added.
Three different RHEINZINK products were utilized. Approximately 17,500 sq. ft. of 0.8mm/22-gauge RHEINZINK Double Lock Standing Seam Panels clad the roof. Approximately 6,500 sq. ft. of RHEINZINK 1.2mm/18-gauge Vertical Reveal Panels clad the façade and soffits. And 3,000 sq. ft. of zinc composite material (ZCM) were used on the fascia and canopies. All RHEINZINK was finished in Pre-weathered Blue Gray.
Early in the design process, stainless steel was considered for the roof as a reference to the stainless steel minarets that grace the historic Plant Hall that symbolizes the University. But RHEINZINK was selected because of its visual softness and ability to diffuse light as required by the design.
The durability and sustainability of RHEINZINK was also an important factor. “We see this as an enduring, 100-year building,” Balke said. “The self-healing nature of zinc and the fact that it will patina over time was important to us. The building will look even better as it ages.”
The standing seam profile was also a key factor in the design according to David Fulmer, senior associate and member of the tvsdesign team. “The scale of the material, the rhythm and the texture help reinforce the shape of the curve,” Fulmer said. “The form is delineated by the ribs of the standing seam profile.”
“The University has many traditional elements and the RHEINZINK helps bridge the contemporary with the traditional,” said Fulmer.
The RHEINZINK applications were fabricated by MetalTech—USA, Peachtree City, GA. Installation of the RHEINZINK panels was done by General Works of Tampa and Morrell Architectural Systems, Inc. Both installers are located in Tampa.
The construction manager for the project was Peter R. Brown Construction, Inc., Tampa. In addition to tvsdesign, other members of the design team included Walter P. Moore and Associates, Inc., Atlanta; Anston-Greenlees, Inc., Tampa; and Kirkegaard Associates, Chicago.