The Art Chapel

"Make nothing" to build architecture

FACT 21 – Active Project

A new Plain-FACT, The Art Chapel will be a safe and inspiring studio for adults to explore and cultivate their creativity through art and craft instruction provided at low cost. The Art Chapel will interact with the South Downtown community, an economically depressed area in Lincoln, Nebraska with few cultural outlets, by offering gallery shows and other art-related events for the public. The historic building, Lincoln’s first church structure, will be transformed from a neglected space into an asset for a struggling neighborhood. After a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, FACT is re-engaging with The Art Chapel to complete this important building.

The Art Chapel is a collaboration with Plain Design Build. 

> This is an active project, check back periodically to see progress

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installing the rolling wall beam, May 2024

The primary design acts are subtractive - removing material and abstracting the building to highlight its generic qualities and enhance the inherent beauty of its simplicity. Subtraction is a form of direct action on an object that preserves the object’s independence.

The most distinctive new feature is a large rolling wall that opens the Art Chapel to the community both literally and figuratively. The rolling wall is cut from the existing exterior wall preserving a door and window. When open, the rolling wall encloses an outdoor room adjacent to the building, creating a space that only exists when The Art Chapel is open to the neighborhood. The main interior space is a multi use room for art classes and exhibitions. The back of this room is a new plywood wall the repeats the form of the open street elevation.

Exploded Parts Diagram

The Art Chapel, seen pre-construction, with rolling wall mock up by Plain Design Build. Plain+FACT intend for the transformation of the historic building, to be perceptually mute at first look. By “making nothing” the project explores architecture’s ability to disarm the viewer through apparent simplicity.

"Show Us Your Art" community gallery event at the Art Chapel

Material and detail explorations

Welding custom window frames; striking the prime datum line (window heads) around the room

First window installed

Framing the rolling wall

Moving the rolling wall to Art Chapel

Framing the rolling wall opening, May 2024

Art Making Space

FACT works with creative nonprofit clients in collaborations that span design and construction. Central to FACT’s mission are projects shaping places of intersection between the production and consumption of culture – where the creators and audiences meet. With The Art Chapel, Plain & FACT explore artistic methods in the making of space, and the production of space to serve the making of art.

Fall 2021 FACT studio kicking off work at the Art Chapel

Project Team

FACT students, construction phase:
Izzy Brehm, Colton Corrin, Wyatt Gosnell, Ashley Hillhouse, Haneen Jabbar, Tanner Koeppe, Angela Medina, Nicholas Olsen, John Raridon, Ben Van Brocklin, Kayla Weller, Meagan Willoughby, Andrew Winter

Plain-FACT students, design phase:
Alec Burk, David Huismann, Saray Martinez, Andrew Rose, Kyra Stradley, Chris Antonopoulos, Caleb Goehring, Brandon Jensen, Joshua Pfeifer, Madeline Whitted

Actual Architecture Co. staff:
Ethan Boerner

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