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