The design for the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph is informed by the discalced Carmelite tradition, taking particular cues from Spanish cloisters in Avila and Toledo. It is sited on 13 acres at the crest of a hill overlooking the rolling farmlands of Pleasant Mount, PA. The cloister comprises of 70,000 square feet of building space consisting of chapel and supporting spaces, convent, and barns, in addition to gardens, cemetery, and other hardscape. Separate houses for guests, priests, and the porter are also planned. The selection of materials—from stone and lime-washed brick facades to slate and metal roofs—is intended to provide both nobility and durability for centuries to come.
The chapel is designed with reference to renaissance and early baroque precedents. Its exterior is dressed in limestone both for its beauty and to indicate its importance, where the most noble materials signify hierarchy. The classically composed façade faces southward and serves as principal entrance both to the chapel and to the cloister beyond. Through the large entry portal, the narthex is used to reorient the chapel eastward as liturgically preferred, architecturally suggested on the exterior by the prominent octagonal dome crowned by a copper lantern centering above the sanctuary below.
The chapel interior similarly draws on renaissance and baroque sources for its inspiration. The nave is given restrained detailing with square piers framing arched openings, stained glass windows, stone floors, and a coffered oak ceiling reminiscent of early Christian basilicas. The sanctuary is treated with more architecturally rich wall surfaces but is dominated by a freestanding baroque reredos, while the dome itself is designed to act as a visual baldachin hovering above the altar below.
The Project Team
Louis Pfaff - Project Director
Louis Pfaff is a native New Yorker with more than 20 years of experience in real estate who has completed over $100M in successful acquisitions. He has been written up in The Real Deal, The New York Real Estate Journal, and the New York Times. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business with a major in finance, which he completed in 3 years, and a master’s degree in real estate and urban planning from The University of Florida. Additionally, Louis also completed Bank of America’s commercial real estate training program.
Prior to graduate school, Louis worked at Bank of America, in their commercial real estate group and was also a senior production analyst at CBRE, underwriting multi-family loans. Following graduate school, Louis worked as a commercial real estate appraiser and later was the director of operations for a brokerage company performing acquisitions, leasing, sales, and property management. Later in his career he was the managing director of acquisitions & operations management for Trion Real Estate where he reviewed about 3,000 off-market multi-family properties per year, to identify those that were priced below market value, which resulted in four successful closed transactions. At Trion Louis was also responsible for portfolio management and optimization, refinancing and disposition of property, press relations, and deal syndication.
Louis maintains a strong belief that one should use their talents where possible in a philanthropic capacity and has helped relocate Carmelite nuns out of a dangerous neighborhood in Brooklyn and is overseeing the new monastery project. During his spare time, he also renovates Catholic grottos and statues in the NYC area and presently proudly serves on the Pastoral Council for Immaculate Conception Church in Eastchester, where he is also a Knight of Columbus. Louis resides in Eastchester NY with his wife of over 20 years and has four wonderful children.
Please contact Mr. Pfaff for media and other inquiries about the project:
Erik Bootsma Architect PLLC - Architects
Erik Bootsma Architect PLLC is a full service architecture firm located in Richmond Virginia.
Specializing in sacred architecture and classical design, the firm has projects ongoing in six state and has completed numerous projects ranging from renovations to new churches.
Erik Bootsma is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and the University of Notre Dame.
Anthony C. Caputo, Jr., EE
Anthony has over Forty years of experience with successful implementation and delivery of multiple high value projects. He has well-developed skills in engineering design and strategizing innovative solutions to design construction challenges while maintaining tight control of project budgets and milestones.
Anthony’s design engineer experience includes design of projects for all phases of engineering disciplines which includes expertise in design of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire and sprinkler systems to create and deliver efficient and code-compliant plans. He has also designed septic, soil and erosion systems and supervised controls for each of those projects.
Joel Pidel Design - Architectural and Liturgical Design
Joel is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he studied architecture and philosophy. He has 18 years of professional experience in the practice of architecture, focusing on traditional design in both residential and sacred spaces. He has been a principal designer and project manager for the past 15 years, responsible for all phases of design and construction, from initial client meetings and schematic design through construction documents and administration. His work has been the recipient of prestigious awards and featured in several design publications. He is a long-standing Fellow at the Institute for Classical Architecture and Art, where he has taught and served on various committees.
KBA Engineers - Structural Engineering
Dennis Kutch, P.E., C.F.E.I.
Donate to Build the Monastery
The Carmelites are dependent upon your donations to build this holy and beautiful house of prayer and contemplation for the Glory of God.
With your donation you will help create a place where prayers will be perpetually offered for you and the whole world.