Annunciation Priory of the Sisters of St. Benedict

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Annunciation Priory of the Sisters of St. Benedict

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Photographs   747  browse all »

Aerial View of Site
Construction Photograph, Looking Over Chapel to South
Construction Photograph, Looking Down on Comm. Bldg. From Dorm. Bldg.

Drawings   280  browse all »

Topographical Maps
Construction Set (annotated prints)
Bismarck Irrigation Project No. 215 Topography

The Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation approached Breuer to design their new priory as a result of his successful work on St. John’s Abbey. Located on a hillside overlooking the Missouri River Valley, the Breuer designed and built the priory in phases due to the limited financial means of the sisters. The first phase included the classroom and dormitory wing along with community facilities. Planning for this phase began in September of 1954. Construction took place between May 1958 and October 1959. Phase II consisted of the convent wing, chapel and bell tower. Breuer built this phase with Traynor and Hermanson, who acted as associate architects. Construction of the second phase lasted from April 1961 through July 1963.

Breuer listened carefully to the needs of the sisters and created a group of buildings containing the convent, chapel, dining hall and classrooms arranged around three large open courtyards. The circulation patterns resulting from the religious life of the order determined the placement of the individual wings and their connecting walkways. The majority of the buildings hugged the ground with only the dramatic form of the bell tower rising above them to a height of 100 feet. Breuer located the bell tower on axis with the chapel, whose roof consisted of half-hyperbolic-paraboloid concrete shells, a form Breuer had begun to explore with the roof of the library at Hunter College and an unbuilt passenger station for the New London, Connecticut stop of the New Haven Railroad.