A PLACE FOR THE SPIRIT
For thousands of years, human beings have designed and constructed places for the spirit– temples, synagogues, churches, chapels, mosques–in which to gather together or on their own, to forge a connection with a spiritual realm. These places often transcend the everyday world of living and working. Today, around the globe, organized religion is in flux and many people (particularly those who are college age) are seeking the spiritual outside of conventional faith traditions. They might describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious,” and they seek communion and sharing with others. They are not affiliated with any formal religious organization, but they may find the spiritual in art, nature, other people. College campuses have typically offered non-denominational facilities for worship across a variety of faith traditions. However, the design for a campus Place for the Spirit offers new and rich possibilities to share a variety of traditional faith traditions, along with spaces that can also respond to many people’s deeply rooted, individual spiritual longings. A Place for the Spirit will be a campus destination where anyone—religious, spiritual, or just curious—can find welcome and a safe place.
Steel is a strong, durable material well suited to A Place for the Spirit. It can be used to symbolically express strength with lightness. Slender steel members can be employed in architecture to admit generous amounts of natural light, which is a key experiential element of sacred architecture for millennia. Steel can negotiate long spans to create welcoming gathering spaces unencumbered by columns. It is a material that lasts—another trait of many spiritual buildings, which often take on a timeless quality.