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Chapel at Rio Roca Ranch / Maurice Jennings + Walter Jennings Architects

  • Architects: Maurice Jennings + Walter Jennings Architects
  • Location: Palo Pinto, TX, USA
  • Architect Of Record:  Maurice Jennings + Walter Jennings Architects
  • Project Team:  Maurice Jennings, Walter Jennings, Lori Yazwinski Santa-Rita, David Pullium
  • Consultants:  HP Engineering (MEP), Myers-Beatty Engineering (Structural)
  • Landscape Architect: Dan Sauerwein
  • Owner/Client: Rio Roca Ranch
  • General Contractor: English Heritage Homes (Michael Taylor Supervisor)
  • Products:   Lock-Deck Laminated Decking, Pine lumber, Lueders limestone
  • Area: 0.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 0
  • Photographs:   Walter Jennings

©   Walter Jennings ©   Walter Jennings ©   Walter Jennings ©   Walter Jennings

From the architect. The Rio Roca Chapel is a carefully articulated wooden structure which is coupled with opulent textures and set against an awe-inspiring landscape. Its lightweight wood structure is braced elegantly with tension bars and turnbuckles, providing support for the walls and copper roof. The chapel’s configuration is essentially an intricate weaving of steel and wood flitch systems with tongue and groove decking above.

©   Walter Jennings
©   Walter Jennings

The shift between plateau and river bluff is traversed by a stone retaining wall; through which visitors go through to enter the chapel, and after which the magnificent views of the Brazos River are exposed.

©   Walter Jennings
©   Walter Jennings

The site’s axis runs east-west parallel along the river to capitalize on the landscape and view of School House Mountain, therefore the glazing present on corresponding exterior walls allows a relatively unobstructed view thorough the chapel. This transparent quality truly expresses the divine purpose of this building; the light filtered into the chapel primarily enters from above, and is playfully reflected and refracted throughout.

©   Walter Jennings
©   Walter Jennings

The locale of the chapel, in a part of Texas dotted with oil and gas rigs, has determined the aesthetic quality of the detailing. While the forms of a well and this chapel are largely apart, the threaded connections, held in place by set screws, which allow for minor adjustment and tensioning are alike. The use of these connections, such as turnbuckles, also allows much of the wooden structure to be fabricated offsite.

Site Plan
Site Plan
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:"Chapel at Rio Roca Ranch / Maurice Jennings + Walter Jennings Architects" 29 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>