Because the crowd of people who will gather at Pope Francis’s open air Mass in Washington in September won’t be able to experience the interior beauty of the Basilica of the National Shine of the Immaculate Conception during the Mass, the winning students of the altar design contest decided to bring the architecture of the grand church out to the people. A jury consisting of representatives from the Archdiocese of Washington, the basilica and The Catholic University of America picked the design of the winning team, featuring Catholic University architecture students Ariadne Cerritelli, Matthew Hoffman, and Joseph Taylor. Their design for the altar, ambo, and other pieces of liturgical furniture, which was revealed at Catholic University on June 2, features arches in the Romanesque-Byzantine style of the basilica and consists of two types of marble that match the church’s interior pillars. A symbol featured in the center of the altar will pay homage to the Virgin Mary, for whom the basilica is dedicated. The papal Mass will be celebrated on Sept. 23 on the east steps of the basilica, overlooking the Catholic University Mall. The students’ designs were based on the assumption that the papal Mass furnishings could find continued use after Sept. 23 as permanent fixtures inside the basilica. …The winning design team noted the front of the altar will have four columns to represent the four vows that Jesuits, like Pope Francis, take to join the Society of Jesus. The three arches symbolize the Trinity. The banner that will hang from the basilica will feature a background of yellow and white, the colors of the Vatican, and a blue Calatrava cross, which appears in the Buenos Aires coat of arms. It is also an emblem that Blessed Junipero Serra, whom the pope will canonize during the Mass, would have been familiar with.
Also, read more about the design at the CUA website.