RTA Architects was selected to provide full architectural services for a private chapel located in the mountain setting of the El Tesoro De Los Angeles retreat center in Woodland Park, Colorado. This unique setting inspired our design team to match the native shape of the land with the liturgical vision of the church, its owner, and its benefactor. Through extensive exploration, RTA developed design elements that would artfully reflect the values of the community that celebrates at the chapel today, as well as the legacy of the early church and region.
The chapel’s form is based on a plan that emulates the open hands of Peter. The exterior form is a modern expression of regional, southwest architecture, continuing the legacy of the early church. The sacred space is shaped for contemplative self-reflection and features penetrating light rays that define the presence of the Cross throughout the cycle of the day. A “footpath with nature” circles the chapel from the entry to a contemplative grotto at the base of the cross where the chapel and grotto return back to the forest.
At only 4,500 square feet, the chapel balances a private, meditative worship experience with many of the functions of a larger chapel. The chapel has a full altar, sacristy, confessional, and bell tower with support facilities located on a lower level to preserve the sanctity of the space. The chapel strives to create a lasting sign that reminds worshipers of their own humanity.