When is a Mosque not a Mosque?

The Guardian newspaper recently carried a story about a brand new mosque just being completed on a prominent site in Tehran. The new mosque is a low-slung building, designed by Fluid Motion Architects, built next to a modern landmark, the City … [continue]

Dear Architect, Circa 2067

Dear architect, dear liturgical designer, dear artist of the sacred, dear creator of those spaces where worshippers of the future might gather. Perhaps you have found the words on this dusty page in a basement archive, or in a box of long-forgotten … [continue]

Sacred Silence

The World of Silence is Max Picard’s 1948 meditation on silence in our world, its violation, and its spiritual dimensions. I place this book within the same dominion as two other works that I’ve written about in these pages over the past year: … [continue]

No Place to Hide

The news is not good. Even before last November’s elections, threats and attacks on synagogues, Jewish community centers, mosques, Islamic centers, and churches had been steadily increasing. Across the country, news reports recount anonymous bomb … [continue]

A Winter’s Tale of Curves and Shells

My strongest memory of visiting Henry Hobson Richardson’s Trinity Church in Boston is the sheer breadth of the apse in which the chancel resides amid glowing gold-colored walls.. It is a great sweep of a curve that generously yet gently arcs from one … [continue]

Between Darkness and Light

Louis Kahn might be best remembered for talking to bricks and asking what they wanted to be, but for the creators of sacred space Kahn’s most prescient observations are about light, light of the natural variety. “Architecture appears for the first … [continue]

Sacred Time, Sacred Space

The core of Abraham Joshua Heschel’s book The Sabbath is that the divine can never be found in space, but only in time. Heschel articulates this view of the sacred, based in the Torah and Jewish teaching, as outside of the control of human beings. … [continue]

Millennials’ Views of Religion Take a Dive

Millennials have spoken, and they don’t much care for organized religion. New research from the Pew Research Center confirms that a trend that has been obvious for several years has picked up speed: Millennials’ favorable view of churches and … [continue]

Both Heart and Womb

The atrocity of Paris taunts with its threat of hopelessness. With nearly 130 dead at this writing, it is the worst loss of life in the French capital since the Second World War. The latest slaughter at the hands of intolerance and extremism tempts … [continue]

Whose House is This?

Many designers, architects, artists, and craftspeople see their ultimate calling as the creation of home for humankind through the environments they help fashion. Of course, our day-to-day existence is often filled with the minutia of the making of … [continue]