CONTENTS INTRODUCTION..................................................................1 DEFINING SPIRITUALITY, ARCHITECTURE & THE 21ST CENTURY............................................................................2 CIVIC GESTURE..................................................................2 EXPLODED THRESHOLD.....................................................4 SOLITUDE............................................................................5 SPIRIT OF PLACE................................................................6 HUMANITY..........................................................................8 CONCLUSION....................................................................9 REFERENCES.....................................................................12
Don’t ‘Eff’ the Ineffable
INTRODUCTION wo important truths exist simultaneously: our world is fragmented by exclusionary religious doctrines which act to highlight our differences over our commonalities; and there is more to understanding the human condition than science and secular culture care to admit. Globally there exists a growing trend away from traditional religion. People with no religious affiliation now make up the third largest global group in a survey of the world’s faiths (Daily Mail, 2012) yet this does not mean that we have disregarded or should disregard spirituality altogether. The history of religious edifices and sacred places highlight the existential link between the human condition and spirituality. More recently, especially during the 20th century, science and logic have surpassed religion as the pinnacle around which many modern societies revolve. Modernism gave birth to the “sprawl, mall and tall” typologies which further devalued attempts to reintroduce transcendent experiences in architecture. As such, I believe we have inherited a 21st century that disconnects people from places where they can feel a part of something greater, submerse themselves in a moment of solitude, or connect with nature and the universe. This work is neither a call for a return to religiosity nor an attack on modern secularism. It is an acknowledgment of the fact that spirituality remains an inseparable part of the human condition and as such we need a new typology of architecture that recognises and nurtures this spirituality. From a constructivist theoretical paradigm, this paper considers five architectural principles, fundamental in theorising a spiritual architecture for the 21st century. These principles will form the subsequent subheadings of: civic gesture; exploded threshold; solitude; spirit of place; and humanity. It is envisioned that these principles can help form a theoretical grounding to help architects rediscover the affective ability of architecture in reorientating society and affecting change. If our architecture can reawaken us to the ineffable, then we may yet triumph over the homogony and chaos we are presently faced with.
Abbey R A Eglington
DEFINING SPIRITUALITY, ARCHITECTURE & THE 21ST CENTURY For the purpose of this paper and ongoing design research, I seek to emancipate spirituality from its religious shackles. Throughout history, spirituality has been categorised in terms of organised religion and as such, has become overly used to make claims not merely about the quality of certain experiences, but about reality at large (Harris 2015, p.11). I share the concern expressed by many atheists that because of this, spirituality has lost its appeal to the non-faithful. Instead, we should briefly return to the origin of the term. ‘Spirit’ comes from the Latin word spiritus, a translation of the Greek pneuma meaning ‘breath’ (Harris 2015, p. 6). Breathing is one of the commonalities peculiar to living things, an intrinsic part of our well-being, our survival, our very existence. Thus, spirituality is an inseparable characteristic of the human condition. Whilst we may choose to nurture it or not, it is perfectly reasonable and increasingly commonplace, to separate the notion of spirituality from religion. Whilst I acknowledge that spirituality means different things to different people, I use the term to describe one’s efforts to reconcile the known with the unknown and how this links to our ethical lives (Barrie 2012, p. 92; Harris 2015, p. 7). Architecture is affective. It helps “… make and unmake identities, enable and disrupt experiences, create, reproduce or break-up communities” (Verkaaik 2014, p. 13). Thus ‘architecture’ should be understood not only as an outward representation of a set of ideals, but as a medium through which to interpret the world. Juhani Pallasmaa quotes French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty when discussing this same point: “We come to see not the work of art, but the world according to the art work” (Pallasmaa 2015, p. 22). Architecture has an agenda for world betterment. “In the absence of gods, we still retain ethical beliefs which are in need of being solidified and celebrated” (de Botton 2012, p. 257).
The 21st century should be understood as an unprecedented period in human history. It is a byproduct of the 20th century, an era in which the architectural discipline swung between numerous and varied extreme theoretical trends. I assert, as others do, that the rise of consumerism and disposability has devalued the meaning and longevity of architecture. Modernism stripped architecture of its soul and, as the 21st century evolves, our obsession with striking images, speed and immediate effects will continue to take its toll on architecture, and ultimately us. Juhani Pallasmaa states: “mankind has never yearned for silence as the focus of his being more than we do in our era of surreal and hysterical consumption and speed” (Pallasmaa 2015, p. 32). A spiritual architectural typology is, I believe, something that we don’t yet know we are missing. We cannot simply return to the (predominantly religious) spiritual edifices of the past. Such a methodology would be doomed from the start, as it would not address the current zeitgeist. We live in an individualistic and pluralistic age where the architect is actually asked by society “to take the risk of offering others his [or her] vision of what constitutes sacred space” (Britton 2015, p. 77). We don’t know what a spiritual architecture of the 21st century should be like, so it is all the more important that we begin to think about it.
CIVIC GESTURE To enact a return to spirituality on a societal level, a 21st century spiritual architecture should begin by making a civic gesture. “Cities have been shaped since the time of the Ancients by holy precincts which served as anchors around which all else revolved” (Britton 2015, p. 75). These precincts were easily visible and outwardly focussed, representative of the values which they stood for and encouraging the participation of civilians through their public spaces and sense of community. But we ceased to recognise this sense of community when we ceased to communally honour our gods (de Botton 2012, p. 23). The privatisation of religious and
Privatised and inwardly turned architecture promotes exclusion on a civic level.
Don’t ‘Eff’ the Ineffable
spiritual beliefs began in the 19th century and as such, religious and spiritual edifices have become inwardly turned and in so doing, even more exclusionary. In the increasingly pluralistic societies of today, it is no longer viewed as a civic gesture to erect a religious building. Often it is seen as offensive, with religious buildings such as churches and mosques seeking to blend into secular society, commonly mimicking the vernacular and appearing as brick veneer buildings or even warehouses in industrial estates. Acknowledging a universal spirituality requires us to recognise that people participate in spirituality on a number of levels, in many different ways. Architecture that makes a civic gesture seeks to serve the broadest level of spiritual participation. Successful religious typologies of the past ensured daily devotion by being prominent landmarks in their localities. Whilst a universal spirituality does not require devotion in a religious sense, I suggest that a spiritual architecture be prominent, to afford people a visual reminder that it exists if they should need it. It is important therefore that this outward civic architectural gesture be non-imposing, but inviting, respecting one’s right to passively admire it or contemplate from a distance.
Spiritual architecture should be prominent and make an outward civic gesture to the citizens it serves.
I use the term ‘gesture’ here specifically to indicate the distinction I am making between an architectural civic gesture and architecture of a civic function. Spiritual architecture can certainly be both of these, yet civic buildings alone don’t generally consider the ineffable of particular importance. A science museum for instance may seek to push us towards a greater understanding of the universe or an art gallery towards a renewed appreciation of beauty – both objectives a spiritual architecture shares. However, unlike museums and art galleries that possess specific agendas, it wouldn’t matter whether visitors came away from a spiritual architecture with an education, it would simply be enough for them to come away in awe, having used the experience as a means by which to gain perspective rather than merely knowledge (de Botton 2012, p. 263).
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A civic gesture for spiritual architecture should provide civic space for the community to freely enjoy. Contemporary society is denied civic places that foster the kind of communal interaction religious buildings did so well. Just as we might construct health, knowledge and cultural precincts for our cities, we should be seen to be constructing spiritual precincts for the 21st century because to stand for something and being seen to do so, is a catalyst for wider societal change. Traditional notions of threshold are static, providing an abrupt transition between the sacred and the profane.
EXPLODED THRESHOLD Exploded thresholds are critical for a spiritual architecture of the 21st century to provide layers of ineffable experience. The traditional notion of threshold as static boundary and separator is deeply engrained in the study of sacred place. By understanding the significance of the threshold as mediator between sacred and profane, one can begin to understand how religions and belief systems were effective in offering solace from the terrors and uncertainties of the material world. Existing literature tends to promote the notion that the sacred must stand separate from the profane to warrant appropriate reverence. I dismiss this, as spirituality is not limited to places predetermined as transcendent. For architecture to promote spirituality in a secular society, it needs to focus on creating encounters with the extraordinary, amongst the mundane sea of the ordinary (Teal 2008). It is about unlocking new, individual perspectives rather than suggesting the answer to one’s problems lies on the other side of a threshold they must cross. By physically deconstructing the traditional static threshold, emphasis can be placed on disclosure, “… represent[ing] an adjustment of formal, ego-centric thinking into something more rooted in processes and the revealing of latent potentialities of a situation” (Teal 2008, p. 19). An exploded threshold condition enables multiple points of entry and multiple layers of experience so that the
An exploded threshold can enable a graduated change in intensity or perspective. Multiple routes are possible depending on the individual.
individual can seek out the path which they might wish to take. A layered, exploded threshold could enable a graduated change in intensity or perspective. An exploded threshold for spiritual architecture should encourage movement through its layers. This is specifically important for the 21st century where many of us are often too busy to afford to dwell for any amount of time. A procession through various elements of an exploded threshold could offer the 21st century passer-by incidental, passive encounters of the ineffable. It gives one the chance to interact with the architecture without requiring a great deal of commitment. It is spiritualty’s answer to the drivethrough phenomenon. A daily encounter that makes commuting feel less like a chore in our vain existence and more like nourishment of our innermost selves, could create change on a societal level and give meaning to the lives of many without needing to change what we essentially do or who we essentially are. There is a general architectural understanding that spaces are bounded by perceivable boundaries. The concept of thresholds as barriers through which one must pass, step over or duck under carries the weight of formal expectation. The ambiguity and design freedom an exploded threshold allows, gives the architect greater freedom of expression and resultantly greater experiential quality. To dwell, Martin Heidegger insists, “…is the formation of presencing through the creation of space within identifiable boundaries” (Britton 2015, p. 86). A spiritual exploded threshold provides a permeable, participatory promenade to the solitude that lies beyond. It is a boundary, although the way it may be identified is open to interpretation.
SOLITUDE Solitude is a necessary principle of an architecture for the 21st century. “The most unexplored lens in architecture as we move into the [new] millennium is
Don’t ‘Eff’ the Ineffable
stillness” states architect Travis Price in his book “The Archaeology of Tomorrow” (Price 2006, p. 49). Modern society has lost the art of being alone to the point where we try to distract ourselves with superficial things to avoid loneliness at all costs. To engage in a spirituality that can exist free of religion, we accept that there may not be a higher being to turn to. We accept there that there is nothing more to our lives than ourselves, thus a spiritual architecture must uphold and provide for this acceptance of solitude through its design. Where religious spiritual place welcomes/relies upon the presence of a divine or mystical spirit, a spiritual architecture should instead celebrate its inhabitants as the consecrators of place. I do not wish to perpetuate the traditional notion of inner sanctum as empty box for silent reverence, I am suggesting solitude in a new spiritual architecture should exist beyond the exploded threshold, as the most personal spiritual level of participation. It would be a place that the inhabitant actively seeks to enter yet it need not be contained within an enclosed, empty space. An ‘inner sanctum’ as Josef Pieper suggests is no longer confined within the walls of a building but can be defined by as little as the living body of the participants themselves (Pieper 2000, p.109). A space of solitude should be designed to focus one’s attention to self-reflection and contemplation without the distractions of secular life. Perhaps the space may even have a secular function that makes performing a daily activity a self-reflective, meaningful experience. The important part is not how the architecture appears, but how it can direct one to behave and subsequently feel. Pallasmaa echoes Louis Kahn’s assertion that light and silence are the “deepest experiential qualities in architecture” (Pallasmaa 2015, p. 23). A place of solitude in spiritual architecture need not be silent itself in as much as provide a place where we ourselves can be silent. Therefore a space of solitude could accommodate many people at once if it directed the inhabitants to solo activity. Powerful architecture and landscapes have the ability to silence all noise but we must let go the deeply engrained notion that sacred
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place requires silence in the literal sense as complete silence can be unsettling.
The traditional notion of ‘inner sanctum’ is an empty box for silent reverence. Whilst the inhabitant is silent, so are their surroundings.
However, unsettling silence may not be all bad in a space for solitude. Randall Teal suggests that fostering an element of anxiety affords genuine response. He quotes Heidegger stating: “Heidegger would argue that we tend to cover this anxiousness ‘… of the nothing in the world’ through our absorption in social norms and the requirements of daily life” (Teal 2008, p. 17). Fostering anxiety to some extent in a space for solitude allows us to release things from our habitual perception and reinforces the ability we have to create possibilities and affect change. “Anxiety is the foil to the familiar … ” (Teal 2008, p.18) and because there exists no actual difference between what is sacred and what is profane, the heightened level of consciousness we experience in a moment of anxiety can help reveal elements of the extraordinary amongst the ordinary. An architecture that helps us adjust our perspective through solitary self-reflection and experiencing silence can allow us to inhabit the world without feeling the need to be in control of it (Britton 2015, p. 87).
SPIRIT OF PLACE
A space of solitude need not be enclosed or itself silent. It should be a place where many can participate simultaneously. Where we feel we can be silent.
An acknowledgment of spirit of place through spiritual architecture is essential to oppose the modern placealienation phenomenon we have inherited from the modernist movement. There is little doubt as to why many are turning away from traditional forms of religion, when one considers the perceived invincibility modern humankind possesses towards environmental conditions, climatic constraints and sense of place. During the 20th century, Corbusian attitudes towards creating ‘machines for living’ took precedence over Heideggerian notions of ‘dwelling’, arguably to the point where modern man has come to somewhat liken himself to God in his capabilities to alter the world (Harries 1996, p. 394). Authors generally agree that the modern movement led us to lose our basic awareness of place (Harries 1996, Koolhaas 2010, Norberg-Schulz
Modernism has led to a disregard of genius loci in favour of air conditioned boxes with no spirit of place.
Spiritual architecture should reconnect our souls to the natural environment and recognise genius loci through interpreting placedefining elements.
Don’t ‘Eff’ the Ineffable
1996, Pallasmaa 2015, Senbel 2015). Air conditioning gave rise to the endless building, universal style homogenised our built environment and technological advancements eroded all concept of geographical distance. As a result we are experiencing an existential homelessness in a sea of global placelessness. The approach of recognising spirit of place through spiritual architecture should be twofold: we must simultaneously acknowledge the benefits of reconnecting our souls to the natural environment whilst recognising that each place has a specific genius loci that gives our lives meaning. The natural environment is inherently sacred - it is the ancestral home of us all. “Our DNA predisposes us to seek harmony out of chaos, and it is our perception of the natural landscape that we unconsciously seek a harmonious presence on Earth” (Crowe 2016). As long as we continue to construct solid boxes in which to live our lives, we continue to deprive ourselves of our essential and most basic link to the natural environment. If spirituality is the way in which we can acknowledge the totality of our existence, our health – both physical and mental, must surely be part of it. Today’s ‘developed’ societies seem oblivious to the fact that our health is inextricably linked to the well-being of our environment. Spiritual architecture should reconnect us with our ancestral home. Natural processes and daily patterns often go unseen or unheard amidst our busy lives. Carefully focussed, experiential architecture can make these perceivable to us again. If spirituality exists without god, then we must accept that the environment is our cosmos, it is all we have. As Norman Crowe states:
“We can all recognise beauty in a landscape, and in response we might sense a spiritual dimension as well. A landscape we regard as beautiful evokes a sense of harmonious order. If ancestral, the order of the landscape defines a sacred place … but if we simply happen upon it and are struck by it, we are nonetheless inspired by those same qualities … that nurture those who may have lived there for millennia” (Crowe 2016).
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Genius loci stems from ancient Roman belief that “every independent being has its genius, its guardian spirit” (Norberg-Schulz 1996, p. 422). The specificities of local character were revered in ancient cultures and still prove important in modern society as tourism proves our ongoing fascination with experiencing different spirits of place. Why should we introduce ourselves as “being from Sydney” or “residing in New York” if place is no longer an important part of who we are as people? In fact, phenomenologist Christian NorbergSchulz goes so far to say that it is of “… great existential importance [for man] to come to terms with the genius of the locality where his life takes place” (1996, p. 422). Critical regionalist theory lends itself to capturing spirit of place through architecture albeit in a novel way. As Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre suggest, architects have the skills to abstract, decompose and recompose typical place-defining elements. The resultant sense of defamiliarisation makes the elements of the architectural composition simultaneously familiar yet hard to grasp which invites an imagined dialogue with the inhabitant. Critical regionalism’s ability to reveal peculiarities of place that otherwise go unseen, unheard, untouched, unsmelt and to some extent, untasted, are by definition, ineffable. By designing place-specific architecture, the inhabitant can begin to understand the place, investing it with meaning. We should not for a moment assume that we are beyond the need for honouring genius loci through architecture. Place-defining spiritual architecture has the potential to begin a trend towards ‘reverential urbanism’ - to transcend the demands we currently place on our earth whilst fulfilling our spiritual needs and ethical obligations (Senbel 2015, p. 63).
HUMANITY Finally, spiritual architecture, at its core, must address humanity. After all, architecture is designed for humans, by humans. Whilst ‘humanity’ can refer to collective humankind, I use the term here to describe “the state of being human” (Oxford Dictionary 2016).
Architecture that denies our humanity relies on vision as our primary way to perceive, ultimately dulling our senses and undervaluing our existence.
Humanity should be made perceivable through spiritual architecture so that even with one’s eyes closed, one may still sense the surrounding beauty.
Despite advances in science and technology, our own bodies remain the only medium through which we experience and perceive the world. As humans, we sense things, make associations with things and cast judgment on things which we like and things that we don’t. Religious architecture and sacred places of the past have succeeded in moving people because they play to our human-ness. Spiritual architecture should seek to reawaken our ability to perceive beauty, our ability to exist through our senses and our sense of mortality. Beauty has become a contentious issue to discuss in architecture. Throughout most of human history, the creation of beauty was the central task of the architect and artist, yet architecture schools now teach us that beauty is far too subjective to even warrant discussion. I argue the contrary, because although we may not discuss beauty, we still perceive it. Objects, buildings and places possess specific characteristics. We can perceive these as we ourselves possess our own characteristics. “Just as to call another edifice beautiful is to sense the presence of a character we would like if it took on a living form. What we search for in a work of architecture is not in the end so far from what we search for in a friend. The objects that we describe as beautiful are versions of the people we love” (de Botton 2008, p. 88). Thus beauty in architecture is the promise of happiness. Since our spiritual quest centres around the search for meaning (and by implication, happiness), spiritual architecture can reintroduce society to the existential importance of recognising beauty. Though beauty may manifest aesthetically, this does not define it, in fact, characteristics of beauty in spiritual architecture should be made perceivable through the other senses to promote a truly immersive experience of beauty. Western society tends to favour vision as the dominant sense. In “The Eyes of the Skin”, Pallasmaa suggests that in order to think clearly, we must supress our sense of vision (Pallasmaa & Holl 2005, p. 46). When we dream, concentrate and pray, we tend to shut our eyes in order to focus on thought. If we shut our eyes within spiritual architecture, we should still be aware of the beauty of our surroundings.
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A sense of mortality is not what most architects would seek to promote through their design. In fact it is quite the contrary in a world ravaged by health and safety legislation. Mortality however, is central to spirituality, as we seek spiritual answers to questions of death and dying. By acknowledging what it means to die, in so doing we are acknowledging what it means to live. Our architecture should be of our time but it should equally go beyond our time. It should outlive us, thus it should have a sense of permanence that make us feel comparatively small, humble, fragile and mortal. This sense of longevity is particularly important for spiritual architecture. Alain de Botton concurs: “… to be made to feel small by something mighty, noble, accomplished and intelligent is to have wisdom presented to us with a measure of pleasure and delight” (de Botton 2012, p. 261). These are but a few ways a spiritual architecture of the 21st century should seek to recover the meaning we have lost in both our lives and our architecture. If we continue to disregard our humanity through architecture as I believe we currently do, we teach ourselves to disengage our experiential senses in order to resist being consumed by the monotony, homogeny and utter blandness we are bombarded with every day. This bombardment is essentially degrading our humanity, dulling our senses, denying us joy and ultimately undervaluing our existence.
CONCLUSION The concept of spirituality is a complex, highly individualistic and multi-faceted aspect of the human condition. It would therefore be foolish to suggest that one could create a universal spiritual architecture typology. Instead, this paper presents five principles I consider universally applicable to creating spiritual architecture for this century, whilst attempting to avoid dictating how to physically do so. Traditional religious buildings are resemblant of each other because
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they set out to establish a common faith. As I have discussed, modern spirituality in secular society is diverse and operates at varied levels of participation. As such, the architecture we conceive to evoke the ineffable should address these varying scales ranging from a passive, gestural civic scale, through unexpected, permeable threshold encounters, to an actively sought-out personal scale. Furthermore, modern spirituality does not share the same end goal for those it serves, thus its architecture cannot employ the use of overtly symbolic elements as religious architecture typically does. Instead its architectural expression and experiences should be derived from a non-exclusionary basis. I propose spirit of place and humanity are universally perceivable and meaningful. Both how we interact with our environment and how we understand ourselves is critical to finding meaning and happiness in our lives. One of modern society’s flaws is the arrogance with which we tend to disregard history as our greatest teacher. While I have stated that we cannot return to the spiritual edifices of the past, I do consider that these religious monuments and sacred places can teach us a lot about evoking the ineffable. We should not blatantly disregard the principles that inspired reverence for millennia, instead, we should use them to inform a new spiritual architecture. Spirituality and experiences of the ineffable are what give our lives meaning and offer us comfort from a world of terrors. To assume that we as humans have risen above the need for spirituality is to suggest that we have ceased our search for meaning and lost what compels us to act ethically. It would mean choosing to live our lives without respect for ourselves, each other and the environment. Without perceived meaning for life we would surely cave to the terrors of time. Architecture is “a deep defence against the terror of time” (Harries 1982). Its intrinsic experiential qualities coupled with the permanence of its construction allows architecture to be both the signifier and medium through which we can perceive the ineffable. We cannot ‘eff’ the ineffable in the 21st century simply
because we don’t think we need it. Ultimately, “what we dream today will form the architecture of tomorrow and, without a doubt, shape our spirits for centuries to come” (Price 2006, p. 16).
Don’t ‘Eff’ the Ineffable
Abbey R A Eglington
REFERENCES Barrie, T 2012, ‘Sacred Space and the Mediating Roles of Architecture’, European Review, vol. 20, no. 01, pp. 79–94.
Norberg-Schulz, C 1996, ‘Phenomenology of Place’, in K Nesbitt (ed.), Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, pp. 415–428.
Britton, KC 2015, ‘The Risk of the Ineffable’, in J Bermudez (ed.), Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space, The Catholic University of America Press, United States, pp. 74–87.
Oxford Dictionary 2016, ‘Humanity’, Oxford University Press, viewed 31st July 2016, <http://www. oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/humanity>.
Crowe, N 2016, Sacred Landscapes: Meanings and Contradictions, Faith & Form, viewed 21st June 2016, <http://faithandform.com/feature/sacredlandscapes-meanings-contradictions/>.
Pallasmaa, J 2015, ‘Light, Silence, and Spirituality in Architecture and Art’, in J Bermudez (ed.), Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space, The Catholic University of America Press, United States, pp. 19–32.
Daily Mail 2012, ‘You wouldn’t believe it… but having no religious affiliation is now world’s third biggest “faith” after Christianity and Islam’, Daily Mail, 19 December. de Botton, A 2008, The Architecture of Happiness (Vintage), 1st (ed.), Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, New York. de Botton, A 2012, Religion for atheists: A non-believer’s guide to the uses of religion, 1st (ed.), Three Rivers Press, New York. Harries, K 1982, ‘Building and the Terror of Time’, Perspecia: The Yale Architectural Journal, vol. 19, pp. 59–69. Harries, K 1996, ‘The Ethical Function of Architecture’, in K Nesbitt (ed.), Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, pp. 394–396. Harris, S 2015, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, Simon & Schuster, United States. Koolhaas, R 2010, ‘Junkspace’, in AK Sykes (ed.), Constructing a New Agenda: Architectural Theory 1993-2009, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, pp. 134–151.
Pallasmaa, J & Holl, S 2005, The Eyes of the Skin Architecture and the Senses, Wiley, John & Sons, United Kingdom. Pieper, J 2000, ‘What Makes a Building a Church?’, in L Krauth (ed.), In search of the sacred: Contributions to an answer, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, pp. 83–120. Price, T 2006, The Archaelogy of Tomorrow: Architecture and the Spirit of Place, Mandala Publishing Group, United States. Senbel, M 2015, ‘From Bioregional to Reverential Urbanism’, in J Bermudez (ed.), Transcending Architecture: Contemporary Views on Sacred Space, The Catholic University of America Press, United States, pp. 63–73. Teal, R 2008, ‘Immaterial Structures: Encountering the Extraordinary in the Everyday’, Journal of Architectural Education, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 14–23. Verkaaik, O (ed.) 2014, Religious Architecture: Anthropological Perspectives, Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam.