In 2012 the Chapel building was closed for the brief period of time it took the team of structural engineers, materials scientists, and architects from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) to remove the pews, set up scaffolding, and survey and stabilize the ceiling. The report from WJE recommended that the University complete additional restoration work to address issues stemming from original 1932 construction techniques. WJE, whose projects include restoration of the Washington Monument and National Cathedral necessitated by the 2011 earthquake, have designed the restoration work required to preserve and maintain the beauty and use of the Chapel building for future generations.
The restoration project will rehabilitate the ceiling, replace the roof, restore several stained glass windows and much of the woodwork, and clean the floors and walls. The Chapel nave will close to the public on May 11, 2015, and reopen in the spring of 2016. This time of restoration will be an opportunity for the Chapel community be a "church without walls,” and live into the long-held belief that the Chapel is more than just a building. Read more in the University's official press release.
Q: Why can't the Chapel stay open as the National Cathedral has during its restoration?
A: Everything that can be removed from the Chapel nave must be removed (including the pews!). Mortar drilling and replacement will produce dust that could damage the finer instruments of the Chapel (the organs must be sealed). After the repairs, the entire nave must be thoroughly dusted before the interior furnishings can be restored and cleaned.
Q: Where will Sunday Worship Services take place?
A: Sunday worship services are tentatively set for Baldwin Auditorium during the summer and Page Auditorium in the fall. Christmas and Easter services may be moved to larger locations at Duke or in Durham. The Chapel website's events/calendar page will contain location updates for worship.
Q: Will the Chapel's services, concerts, ministries, etc. continue during the restoration work?
A: The Chapel's mission and ministry will continue regardless of restoration work. The Chapel staff and Religious Life offices in the basement of the building will remain open during the restoration project. The Chapel website's events/calendar page will contain location updates for various events.
Q: Will events and services still be streamed online?
A: Yes, the Chapel’s Media Ministry will continue during the closure.
Q: Where will Duke weddings take place during the closure?
A: Weddings will not be offered by the Chapel during the closure; however, the University will give special preference to Duke affiliates for weddings at the Washinton Duke Inn and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens during the restoration project. Beginning in the summer of 2015, the Chapel Wedding Coordinator will begin accepting reservations for ceremonies in the Chapel in the summer of 2016. As always, these sign-ups will take place one year in advance of the wedding month (for example, July 2016 reservations will be accepted starting July 1, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.).
*Please note: Goodson Chapel, in the Divinity School, is reserved exclusively for the ministries of teaching and worship, and thus, will not be made available for weddings during Duke Chapel's closure. No exceptions may be made to this policy.
Q: Where will Duke funerals take place during the closure?
A: Duke Chapel is diligently working with the University to determine the best location for funerals.
More information on restoration and closure projects accross Duke's campus is available at the Duke construction website.