Emory University – Turner Village at the Candler School of Theology

Project Description

Turner Village, at the northern edge of the expanding Emory University campus, is a discrete compound of housing, community center and chapel for theology students, visiting lecturers and transient missionaries. Dialogue and interaction among the various village occupants is the desired objective.

The architectural program includes renovation of thirteen student apartment buildings and new construction of a community center of 10,000 square feet and a small chapel.

Although small in plan and located at a low point at the rear of the site, the chapel is the architectural and spiritual focus of the complex. Emerging above the community center roof, the chapel’s upper part is visible, appearing and reappearing at key points as one moves from the street through the site.

The community center and the chapel, though separate entities, work together to form a whole. The route to the chapel is via a tall, narrow, light-filled cloister wedged between the living room and library elements of the community center. The remainder of the route is downward and spiraling along an exterior ramp. Entering the chapel from the rear, one’s focus is directed upward to the vertical volume of the space, to the cross and eventually back to the intimate space inscribed by the enclosing walls and seating. A large door swings open towards the community center, allowing the chapel to act as the pulpit for outdoor services with a congregation gathered on the ground, the deck and the ramp.

The largest space of the community center is the literal “living room” for the School of Theology. Its focus is both internal to itself and its functions, and outward to the chapel. The community center contains one large and two small conference rooms, a catering kitchen, a study library, a small administration area and a basement for future use.

Renovation of the student housing was largely cosmetic, with emphasis on improving the architectural image for the community.



Project Information

project: renovation of student housing, a new community center and chapel forming a residential village for theology students
client: Emory University
location: Atlanta, Georgia
completion date: fall 1989
building area: 75,000 square feet of renovation; 10,000 square feet of new construction
construction cost: $5 million


  • 1992 South Atlantic Region AIA Honor Award