Reports From the Forbidden Zone

As we went to press with this awards issue, I participated in a celebration of a special program in sacred architecture at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Walton Visiting Critic program, which … [continue]

Good, Ordinary

Recently I have been looking into the life of Connecticut architect Louis A. Walsh. Never heard of him? Not surprising. Walsh was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, in 1877 to parents who had emigrated from Ireland. He attended local schools in … [continue]

Displacement as a Condition of Faith

The recent annual symposium of the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum (acsforum.org) in Coral Gables, Florida, focused on the topic of “Displacement and Architecture.” For me, this theme called into question the assumption that people of … [continue]

Doshi’s Sacred in the Secular

As we go to press with this issue, it has been announced that the 2018 Pritzker Prize is bestowed on architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, 90, of Ahmadabad, the first architect from India to be so honored. Many of Doshi’s works exude a sense of … [continue]

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]