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Noble Chapel

Noble Chapel

Noble Chapel is thought to be the first building designed by T. Patterson Ross, an architect of notable significance in the Bay Area who designed over 200 building over the course of his career. The most notable and recognized of those buildings include the Sing Chong and Sing Fat buildings on California Street, the Union League Club, and the Islam Temple of the San Francisco Shriners (presently known as the Alcazar Theater). The original design of the chapel embodies the distinctive characteristics of a trend in opulent funerary services during the late Victorian era. A 1912 article, published by The Architect and Engineer, wrote: “[Noble Chapel] is a splendid example of [Ross’s] early work, and shows the Gothic feeling throughout.” Its distinctive features include its orientation to the receiving vaults, an unusual decorative truss system, and consistently gothic architectural detailing.

ARG Conservation Services, Inc. (ARG/CS) was retained by Cypress Lawn Memorial Park to restore and rebuild the Noble Chapel after a fire on May 15, 2013 partially destroyed the crematory area of the building. The building includes a chapel that was built in 1893 and a crematorium that was added in 1937. The fire was started by a malfunction in the cremator while in operation. The Colma Fire Department was able to contain the fire to the crematorium located at the south end of the building.

The scope of work was to rebuild the fire damaged building, restoring its historic character, as well as completing a general rehabilitation of the Chapel. In 2006, Architectural Resources Group (ARG) produced a historic assessment report for Cypress Lawn including recommendations for restoring the building. This report was used as a resource in defining the scope of work for the rehabilitation project. The project was completed in three phases.

Phase 1 was a design development phase used to create a set of drawings defining the structural seismic upgrade, new heating system, new electrical system, fire sprinkler system, and newly restored interior finishes. Phase 2 was an investigation and demolition phase used to better understand the extent of the fire damage and restoration work needed throughout the building. Throughout Phase 2, the scope of work was refined and the final permit drawings were completed. At the end of Phase 2, ARG/CS provided Cypress Lawn with a complete scope of work, construction estimate and schedule. Phase 3, the final construction phase, began on February 8, 2015 with a projected construction schedule of eight months.

During Phase 3, ARG/CS was the general contractor on site full time to oversee and manage the entire restoration of the building. The objective was to provide Cypress Lawn with a seismically upgraded building with its historic character restored that complied with current building code. Now, Cypress Lawn has a beautifully restored historic resource to offer its visitors for funeral services and cremation needs.




Cypress Lawn Memorial ParkColma, Californi


Colma, California


General Contracting, Preservation, Restoration, Seismic Upgrades