Mary Chapel is a classic gothic church with plaster walls and ceiling, unpadded wooden pews, and a traditional cruciform shape. The college recently updated the chapel to bring it into conformance with Vatican II design guidelines and to make it more flexible for secular uses. For Mass, the altar is positioned in the center of the nave. Four other speech origination points for the choir, chair, ambo, and lectern are distributed throughout the space. Secular uses include lectures, panel discussions, and workshops. The pews will be removed and replaced with moveable padded wooden chairs.
MLA was responsible for the acoustics and audio system design. The space was overly reverberant for speech intelligibility, so absorptive panels were fashioned to complement the existing appearance. They were fitted around the stained glass windows on the upper side walls so that the lower walls were left hard for musical envelopment. The sound reinforcement was provided using loudspeakers hung between the lights. By adjusting the time delays for each speaker according to its source, sounds appear to emanate from the point of origin and excellent intelligibility is achieved.