21 Jun 2019

Speaking In Good Faith: Spiritual Architecture

We were invited to speak about Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre as part of the University of Westminster’s ‘Spiritual, Sacred, Secular’ conference, exploring contemporary approaches to the design and use of faith buildings in Britain.

Lucrezia presented our building on a panel with Julia Barfield, talking about Cambridge Mosque, and Andrew Waugh, who designed Bushey Cemetery. It was interesting to see that a common theme emerged of bringing light into spiritual spaces at high level, so as not to distract from meditating, prayer, or grief and reflections on mortality. The panel also considered the pros and cons of designing a building for a community you do not belong to (spoiler: it’s a good thing, makes you work harder, research thoroughly and question everything) and the effect materiality can have on the spiritual character of a space.

Lucrezia also fondly remembered how the Buddhist love spread across the whole design team. If only we could sprinkle a bit of that on every project.