This small yet ornate chapel is dedicated to the Hungarian people and their patron St. Stephen. Co-funded by the Hungarian government and the Catholic Cardinal of Hungary, the stone used in this chapel was quarried in Hungary.
The primary color (buff Sutto limestone) has a long history of use in Hungary, and the main accent (Royal Hungarian Red marble) is used in important sites such as the Saint Stephen’s Cathedral in Budapest. This rich red marble adorns the altar, the entry solid column shafts, the floor, and the frames of the bas-relief carvings. The minor accent (Siklos Green marble) is a rare marble used in the Hungarian Parliament mosaic floors. Although no longer quarried, Rugo Stone was able to find a small amount to use on the floor.
The entire Hungarian stone pallet was fabricated for 1/16″ joints and fully dry-set to ensure uniform color range and precise alignment. Most of the carving was performed by hand, including the all 24-carat gold-leafed lettering, the altar rosette, and three bas-reliefs depicting the baptism of St Stephen, St Stephen presenting the Crown Jewels, and the Hungarian Coat of Arms. The focal point, “The Hungarian Madonna,” was also made by hand, using Venetian glass mosaic installed on a portland cement-based substrate. The antique oak wood beams were challenging to source, and their installation required structural steelwork integrated with masonry support walls.
This very complex project is an example of old work craftsmanship and artistic execution. This project was awarded the 2016 MIA Pinnacle Award of Merit.
Location: Washington, DC
Owner: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Architect: Anthony J. Segret, AIA / Rambusch Decorating Co
General Contractor: Rugo Stone LLC
Size: 3,000 sqft
Services: Performed all demolition, masonry, plaster, carpentry, and all stone & mosaic