Crispin Wride's design, chosen from 75 entries to an open competition, is sculptural and symbolic. The chapel is symmetrically enclosed between two curving walls to form a "mandorla", or almond shape, that signified divinity in classical religious paintings.
"The two curved masonry walls of Bath stone and brick that envelop the space are like cupped hands raised in prayer or protecting those who mourn within," explains Wride. "The resulting shape has a ship-like character that is particularly appropriate, given the nautical setting." Although it contains seating for all 550 college students, the chapel interior is made more intimate by placing some seating on a U-shaped upper gallery. Four rooms containing a private chapel, vestry and two memorial exhibition rooms are tucked below the side galleries.
The roof appears to float overhead, as it is separated from the walls by a continuous glazed slot. Behind the altar is a large stained-glass window designed by John Clark as a semi-abstract depiction in cool greens and blues of the windswept islands and their south Atlantic setting. Stone panels are carved with the names of the fallen.
The chapel was built for £1.2m by Collier & Catley of Reading, with Gibb as structural engineer, Max Fordham & Partners as services engineer and Gardiner & Theobald as quantity surveyor.