Moto Designshop - St. Joseph's Arrupe Hall, time becomes matter
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St. Joseph's Arrupe Hall, time becomes matter

Moto Designshop

Public Space  /  Completed
Moto Designshop

Arrupe Hall – Saint Joseph’s University Saint Joseph’s University, founded in 1851 by Felix Barbelin in the Society Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia, shifted locations over the next several decades until moving to its current home along City Line Avenue, on the western edge of Philadelphia, in 1922. The project establishes a residence for the Jesuit priests who work at the University and the Jesuit high school in Philadelphia. The goal is to provide them with not only a home, but a space that supports this religious community of men and their shared common life. The new Arrupe Hall is a deeply symbolic and thoughtfully crafted place for living, learning, working, and worshipping. Developed jointly by Saint Joseph’s University and the Eastern Province of the Society of Jesus, it’s a home for Jesuits and a hub for apostolic life in Philadelphia, designed to foster connection and collaboration across all the city’s ministries. Project Background/Intent The design challenge was to create a multipurpose community building on a relatively small lot that not only provides a home for Jesuit priests, but also supports the university's long-term strategic plan. Located on a prominent site near the University President's house and an eclectic collection of academic buildings, the solution enriches SJU's unique sense of place with a design that draws on the massing, materials, and scale of the surrounding buildings while introducing a compelling new architectural vocabulary. It reflects Jesuit ideals and the university's "whole person" educational model with a mindful composition of distinctive elements that form one cohesive whole: shared community spaces, private living quarters, and a chapel. Brick was selected as the primary building material because it serves as a timeless module to represent the abstraction of time and the Jesuits contribution to the Gregorian Calendar. The weight and texture of the brick contributes to the presence of the façade as well as highlights the nuance in detailing. The brick allowed the exploration of concepts that demonstrated incremental change over time. The scale and materiality of the brick offered the opportunity to explore modern concepts in a more traditional context. Additional materials include Wissahickon schist and slate-like composite. Together with the use of brick, these three materials reflect the surrounding context, while pushing new boundaries in form and constructability.


 Lower Merion
 United States
 The Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus
 1490 mq
 Moto Designshop
 Moto Designshop
 Hunter Roberts Construction Group
 Bruce Brooks & Associates, Beam Ltd, Stantec Engineering, Iron Studio and Design Ltd
 Nic LeHoux


Moto Designshop is a progressive Architecture and Interior Design studio challenging the boundaries of contemporary practice with an artistic approach to shaping the built environment. We begin each project with a fundamental interest in the culture and context of our clients, a rich understanding of construction methodologies, and nuanced detailing to ensure a finely crafted building. The result is an architecture that is human-centered and of its place and time.

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