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Mandi's Chapel

Mandi's Chapel

Live Oak

Built in 1995 by John Zona, AIA.

Located at Camp Weed, the Cerveny Center has roots back as far as the 1920s. Signature building of Camp Weed, in memory of Amanda Petway. Builder, Cory Construction of Live Oak.

A note from the architect:

After Bishop Cerveny asked me to prepare a concept for a possible chapel on the Camp Weed 500 acre Site, Mandi’s parents Tom and Betty Petway were approached by Bishop Cerveny to show them the design sketches placed on the selected site. After close review of the conception drawings they were convinced it would be an appropriate way to memorialize Mandi as she had been to Camp Weed and had participated in Happening there. “We still feel it is the perfect memorial for her-----and for us a place to feel her presence as we approach the twentieth anniversary of her passing.....May 15, 1992.”

There was a very strong feeling that the scale of the 250-seat chapel must be kept intimate and comfortable for small groups, up to and including the individual. Influenced by the old stone cross on campus, a traditional transept parte held the most promise in achieving this delicate balance of large with small.

In order to make the chapel visible from any place along the banks of the beautiful lake upon which all other residential units are focused, the chapel was structured off the natural banks of White Lake over the water. This placement had a dual advantage of being visible from virtually every other building at Camp Weed, but in turn, all of the buildings became invisible from the chapel because of the heavy oak-laden banks of the lake which quietly absorb the numerous other structures into their foliage.

The chapel was conceived to be spatially inspiring with steep-angled roofs reaching toward the heavens. It was important that all the materials used to construct the chapel would be natural wood indigenous to the area and that the chapel be seen as a pavilion hovering over the lake with unobstructed views to the panoramic splendor of its natural surroundings. Therefore, the walls were composed of glass, the roof and floors constructed of natural southern pine, and the structure be considered such that the observer would feel comforted by the many branches that unfold to create shelter in its simplest form.

The apse, which has the sole purpose of containing the memorial to Mandi Petway, is semicircular in form and commands the most spectacular views toward the infinite horizon and the setting sun. A simple cross hangs from the geometric center of this space over a glass-inscribed pedestal marking the presence of Mandi’s spirit. The building itself speaks quietly on its own behalf in support of its mission.

Most Sincerely,

John Zona III, AIA

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