Full Report for Listed Buildings
Summary Description of a Listed Buildings
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Chapel of St Michael’s College (St Padarn’s Institute)
Within St. Michael's College and a part of the quadrangular group.
Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Built in 1957-9 to replace two ranges of the College, including the chapel, which had been destroyed by bombing in WWII. Designed by George Pace who was Cathedral Architect at the time and also engaged on the rebuilding of the Cathedral after the war. The design was influenced by agricultural buildings that Pace knew from Yorkshire and S Wales. It has echoes in Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut (completed 1954) at Ronchamp in E France. It was a pioneering design for a reformed liturgy, stripped of traditional spatial organisation, and with a free-standing altar.
Simple asymmetrical rectangular form, with subtly canted walls to (liturgical) east and west). Local stone rubble, slate roof, which is little visible from the ground. The side walls are punched through with many small and very small rectangular windows apparently arranged randomly but in a deliberate pattern and with only lightly expressed reinforced concrete frames acting as structural elements. Plain recessed entrance offset in (liturgical) west end under an asymmetrical gable in a canted wall, with metal figure of St. Michael overcoming the devil by Frank Roper over. The whole has a simple almost vernacular character, more reminiscent of a barn than an ecclesiastical building.
Simple interior, with white plastered walls and ceiling. Sharp angles are avoided by a coved transition between walls and ceiling, and by subtly angled corners. The light all comes from the grid of small windows on the right. Plain white wall behind altar, blank except for small crucifix by Mervn Merchant, with sculptured Christ in Majesty by Harry Stammers suspended above altar. Altar itself designed by G F Bodley, retained from earlier chapel. The black pews and elongated staff stalls against curving screen at the (liturgical) west end and other fittings are all by Pace, apart from some seats which survived the bombing of the earlier chapel. The chapel is described in the Buildings of Wales: '...the interior is truly moving...The architect has created a numinous space...without introducing a single evocation of the traditional forms of church architecture'.
Reason for designation
Included at grade I as an exceptional example of post-war ecclesiastical architecture, in which modernism is fused with the vernacular and with arts and crafts to create a building imbued with a sense of its spiritual purpose. It is an important work by George Pace, the finest example of his work in Wales, and a remarkably complete scheme, retaining all his original furnishings and fittings. It was a pioneering design for liturgical reform, the precursor to a range of other reforming church designs in the post-war period in S Wales. It has historic interest for continuity within the bomb-damaged St. Michael's College and Group Value with the other listed college buildings.
Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]