Architecture has long been understood as a cultural discipline able to articulate the human condition and lift the human spirit, yet the spirituality of architecture is rarely directly addressed in academic scholarship. The seventeen chapters provide a diverse range of perspectives, grouped according to topical themes: Being in the World; Sacred, Secular, and the Contemporary Condition; Symbolic Engagements; Sacred Landscapes; and Spirituality and the Designed Environment. Even though the authors’ approach the subject from a range of disciplines and theoretical positions, all share interests in the need to rediscover, redefine, or reclaim the sacred in everyday experience, scholarly analysis, and design.
’Why a book about spirituality for architecture readers that does not focus primarily on religious buildings? The thesis presented here is provocative: spirituality is a dimension of the world, not only or always of organized religions and their spatial accommodation and representation. The old sense of the spiritual or transcendent as beyond the everyday won’t work anymore. Grasping spirituality today requires attention to both organized religions and seemingly prosaic conditions: streets, some full of activity, others empty; also buildings, some marvelously complete, others in ruin; and much more. Although the book’s five parts - ontological, historical, representational, topographical, and practical - are grounded by philosophical questioning, they also address contemporary design practice. Accordingly, spirituality is not an optional concern for architects but a key to the primary task of binding the individual work to the world.’ David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania, USA