Chapel Restoration

United States Naval Academy | ANNAPOLIS, MD

With the cornerstone laid in 1904 by Admiral George Dewey, and the dedication taking place in 1908, the United States Naval Academy Chapel was considered the “architectural crown” of Ernest Flagg’s design for the USNA campus. Originally in a Greek Cross plan, the chapel underwent extension in 1939-40 to the design of architect Paul Philippe Cret, and took the overall form of a Latin Cross with a new name. The tallest building in the Yard, the chapel extends 210 feet from the rotunda floor to the top of the lantern. The chapel is full of historic elements and memorials, including memorial windows by Tiffany and the famous Crypt of John Paul Jones. The structure and campus were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

The chapel underwent a round of comprehensive interior renovations in the early 1980’s, some of which compromised the historic fabric of this historically important structure. Marshall Craft Associates was commissioned as Architect of Record to design a new round of necessary restorations to correct these deficiencies and to stabilize and restore finishes and features in the main chapel space. As prime consultant, MCA worked with NAVFAC and the USNA Design Department to provide a comprehensive study, assessment, and design for sensitive, accurate and appropriate restoration, including the dramatic uncovering and restoration of the original lantern oculus at the peak of the rotunda, and the restoration of all the interior painted and wood finishes and pews.

After over 110 years, the USNA Chapel continues as the campus “architectural crown”, serving generations of midshipmen, their families, faculty, alumni and command staff.

Project Highlights

  • National Trust for Historic Places Registered Landmark
  • Re-opening and resoration of the daylighting oculus at the peak of the rotunda
  • Research to match historic color palate
  • Acoustical retrofit of performance spaces
  • Flat and ornamental plaster repair
  • Woodwork refinish + painted surfaces restoration
  • Repair structural framing
  • Repair / refinish wood flooring + restore hardware
  • Maximize life safety, energy efficiency and life cycle impact of building HVAC, Lighting and Energy loss
  • Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties No. AA-359

Have a question about this project?

Contact Paul Van Riley, AIA, NCARB at

Project Details

Professional Expertise

Cultural + Civic | Federal Government | Historic + Adaptive Reuse | Higher Education

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