The quaint chapel within the 35,000-square-foot Joni and Friends International Disability Center is a quiet refuge at the heart of the building. Designed to honor the vision of Joni Eareckson Tada and her nonprofit organization, the new building honors accessibility and her Christian faith.

An artist and activist, Joni was paralyzed in a 1967 diving accident, leaving her in a wheelchair without the use of her hands. Today Joni hosts a weekly radio program, advocating for accessibility and encouraging those of her faith.

Gensler wanted to give permanence to the mission of Joni’s organization. To capture the essence of the outreach movement of Joni and Friends, the architects created a space that is not only inspirational and functional, but one that also supports the organization’s collaborative work style as well as their Christian faith.

The chapel appears to float above a reflecting pool in the core of the building and is surrounded by an unfolding sculptural ramp. Clear glass guardrails reflect natural light that permeates the space through a cross-shaped skylight. The ramp itself was conceived both as an accessibility solution, and as a symbol of life’s journey.

The intimate devotional space is spare and elegant. Interior walnut floors and white, plaster walls are adorned by the shifting light that suffuses the space through an inlaid glass cross within the front wall.


Joni and Friends IDC

2500 Broadway
Suite 300
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone 310-449-5600
Fax 310-449-5850

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Andy Cohen, FAIA, principal in charge
Barbara Bouza, AIA, project manager
Philippe Pare’, AIA, lead designer/project architect
Abby Lennon, designer
Sarah Gibbons, project coordinator

Wahba F. Wahba Engineering Inc.,
Los Angeles

Moon Engineering
Ventura, CA

Calkins Electricc Camarillo, CA

Lighting: California Lighting Sales
Irwindale, CA

Acoustical: Communicon Designs, Colorado Springs, CO Irwindale, CA

General contractor:
Carignan Construction Company, Westlake Village, CA

Benny Chan/fotoworks



Glass: Oldcastle Glass (guardrails and interior partitions)

Skylights: Solatube

Sliding doors: Hawa AG

Special doors (sound control, X-ray, etc.): Security Acoustics (Security Metal Products Corp.)

Locksets: Schlage

Hinges: Ives

Closers: LCN

Exit devices: Von Duprin

Pulls: Schlage

Security devices: Von Duprin

Cabinet hardware: Hafele America Co.

Interior finishes:
Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong

Suspension grid: Armstrong

Cabinet/custom woodwork: California Woodworking

Paints and stains: Frazee Paint

Wallcoverings: Maharam

Paneling: Whisper Walls

Plastic laminate: Wilsonart International Inc.

Special surfacing: Real Illusions Inc. (Venetian plaster)

Floor and wall tile: Dal-Tile Corp.(restrooms)

Resilient flooring: Allstate

Carpet: Bentley Prince Street Inc.

Wood Floor: LV Wood Floors / Dex-O-Tex (Crossfield
Products Corp.)

Office furniture: dTank Inc.

Reception furniture:    California Woodworking (desk); Knoll  Inc.

Fixed seating: Martin Brattrud, California Woodworking

Chairs: Knoll Inc., AllSteel Inc.

Tables: dTank Inc.

Upholstery: Maharam

Other furniture: HBF

Interior ambient lighting: Lithonia Lighting

Downlights: Lithonia Lighting, Intense, Lighting, Peachtree Lighting

Controls: Leviton