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Increase in Interfaith Worship Places

June 21, 2010

From, As the interfaith movement grows around the world, the need for interfaith sacred spaces has grown as well. Currently, many interfaith groups meet and operate out of churches, mosques, temples, community centers, schools and members’ houses. However, how much influence does architecture have on a person’s spiritual experience? Furthermore, can architecture encourage interfaith cooperation? If you look at every other religious house of worship, they are specifically designed to accommodate each religion’s needs and spiritual beliefs. For centuries architecture has been used for this very purpose. Most notably, the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics known as Feng Shui has been practiced for thousands of years and is widely used in oriental spiritually significant structures. When it comes to building a church, mosque, temple, or any other house of worship, the design elements are quite obvious. However, when you have multiple faiths meeting under one roof, is it possible to create a genuine and inclusive interfaith sacred space that honours all beliefs? What might such a place look like? It’s a daunting challenge. An interfaith sacred space needs to be a place where anyone and everyone who entered, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, would be inspired to practice their own faith and build relationships with those of other faiths. This need for interfaith sacred spaces has inspired many architects and interfaith groups over the years. In 2003 and 2004, the Interfaith Center at the Presidio held an Interfaith Sacred Space Design Competition, which drew some 350 registrants from 26 countries. The objective of the competition was to discover the best design principles behind interfaith sacred spaces. The Juries concluded that interfaith sacred spaces need to be intimate, located in accessible areas, be in harmony with nature, and be welcoming to people of all faiths. Click here to read the rest of the article.