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    Posted November 4, 2013 by
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Re-purposed buildings

    Recycled 18th Century Chapel Becomes Philadelphia College's Green Haven


    Chestnut Hill College (www.chc.edu) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a rather prestigious distinction in one of its oldest re-purposed buildings- it houses an authentic religious relic.


    The House of Loreto on Chestnut Hill College’s campus was built in 1897 by the Sisters of St. Joseph and is an exact facsimile of the House of Loreto in Italy. Chestnut Hill’s House of Loreto houses part of the altar, or reredos that was in the original Holy House of Loreto from 1808 until 1895. Like the original Holy House of Loreto that was miraculously transported from Nazareth to Tersatto then to Loreto, Italy, Chestnut Hill’s building also was moved in 1928 from the its original site (currently Fournier Hall) to its current home along Murphy Drive. The House of Loreto at the College was originally used as a chapel, but was completely renovated in 2010 into the Sisters of St. Joseph Earth Center, the College’s new hub for sustainability. The Earth Center, which partners with local city and community groups, is host to a variety of lectures, conferences, and film festivals, in addition to driving green initiatives on Chestnut Hill’s campus.


    In the renovation, the reredos was restored and the interior and exterior of the building was given a green makeover, keeping the architectural beauty of the building intact. The Earth Center itself is made completely from recycled materials and incorporates sustainability practices, with geothermal heating, low VOC emitting finishes, rain-gathering columns and storm water gardens.

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