St. Joseph of Arimathea Chapel is the heart of student life and worship during the Residential Summer Sessions. As the Archbishop's Chapel, it serves a local parish, comprised of university students and Berkeley area residents (see http://sjachapel.org) with weekly Sunday celebration of the Holy Eucharist. All are welcome.
The Chapel is a barrel-vaulted collegial church (that is, a church with a quire and sanctuary and without the nave common in a parish church), fifty feet long, less than twenty feet wide in its main body, and thirty feet high. Its verticality gives to the chapel the feeling of a church of the Early Christian epoch; the sensation is further heightened by soft lighting provided by a row of high clerestory windows on each side of the main body and skylights over the north-eastern transept and the south-western aisle. The bema, or tribune, and its altar dominate the chapel.
The Chapel Organ - a twelve-stop, two manual and pedal, mechanical-action instrument - was built by Herr Jurgen Ahrend of Loga-Leer, Germany. Herr Ahrend has become one of the most renowned organ builders in the world by virtue of his work both in Europe and America. The organ is tuned to the just temperament dictated by the late seventeenth-century German master, Andreas Werckmeister. To the untrained ear the difference between this and the equal temperament, which today is hardly noticeable, but by virtue of the traditional tuning, the instrument is especially suitable for hearing the range of great liturgical music of the mediaeval and early modern periods as it was heard then.
The College's campus is composed of the chapel, offices, classrooms, library, housing, and common dining.
arCA, the American Institute of Architects California Council's quarterly journal, spotlighted the St. Joseph of Arimathea chapel. Read the article. (arCA issue 03.4 2003)