Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Books available in the Library
The article profiles church building designer and architect Duncan G. Stroik, particularly focusing on his emphasis on the revival of classical architectural forms that he believes focus on the sacred aspects of worship.
Truth in Beautiful spaces
The article presents the author's reflections regarding Christian church architecture. Introductory remarks suggest that 21st-century church communities rarely look to build beautiful buildings. Topics then addressed include several theoretical excuses for why congregations do not invest in their church's architectural design, discussion of the significance and expressive power of church architecture, and Biblical passages that relate to the issue.
9 Things You Should Know About Church Design
"Elevation isn’t alone in making such radical changes. Many modern congregations have abandoned or modified design features that have historically been associated with churches. Here are nine things you should know about traditional (mostly Protestant) church architecture ... "
"The earliest churches were based on the plan of the pagan Roman basilica (q.v.), or hall of justice. The plan generally included a nave (q.v.), or hall, with a flat timber roof, in which the crowd gathered; one or two side aisles flanking the nave and separated from it by a row of regularly spaced columns; a narthex (q.v.), or entrance vestibule at the west end, which was reserved for penitents and unbaptized believers; and an apse (q.v.) of either semicircular or rectangular design, located at the east end and reserved for the clergy ... "
Architecture and Liturgy
"The relationship between liturgy and architecture—between worship and the space in which it occurs—has a rich history in the Christian tradition. Its roots go back well before the emergence of Christianity to origins in Jewish worship ... "
"Christian worship involves praising God in music and speech, readings from scripture, prayers of various sorts, a sermon, and various holy ceremonies (often called sacraments) such as the Eucharist ... "
Buddhism and Architecture
"Buddhism is a religion that honours nature. Most Buddhist practitioners seek to transcend worldly, material desires, and try to develop a close kinship with nature ..."
A Buddhist Temple and its Users
Buddhist temples are emblematic of many Asian countries in their tourism promotions, but little is known about how monks, laypeople, guides, and local or foreign tourists experience these religious heritage sites. In late developed and developing Asian countries these Buddhist sites fulfil complex social and symbolic roles involving differing functions and expectations. But how these temples can fulfil these complex demands and avoid becoming similar to a museum or a theme park is unclear. Using qualitative analysis this research examined temple users experiences of the architecture, artefacts, gardens, rituals, and users at the Bulguk Temple precinct in Korea and identified several dimensions of the sense of place that temple users experience.
"Buddhists can worship both at home or at a temple. It is not considered essential to go to a temple to worship with others ... "
Reading Mosques: Meaning and Architecture in Islam
The article discusses the meaning of metaphors and symbols in the architectural design of Islamic architecture and mosques. The author addresses the concept of reading architecture and analyzes the symbolism of architectural ornamentation and design common to mosques around the world. Topics include the use of symbols and metaphors in Islam, the theme of paradise in Islamic architecture, and the role of prayer in the architectural design of mosques. Various design elements are explored including fountains, spatial configurations, and the use of light, water, and images of forests.
Mosque: Parts, Features, Architecture
"Mosque, Arabic masjid or jāmiʿ, any house or open area of prayer in Islam. The Arabic word masjid means “a place of prostration” to God, and the same word is used in Persian, Urdu, and Turkish. Two main types of mosques can be distinguished: the masjid jāmiʿ, or “collective mosque,” a large state-controlled mosque that is the centre of community worship and the site of Friday prayer services; and smaller mosques operated privately by various groups within society ... "
Introduction to Mosque Architecture
"From Indonesia to the United Kingdom, the mosque in its many forms is the quintessential Islamic building. The mosque, masjid in Arabic, is the Muslim gathering place for prayer ... "
What is the significance of Friday prayers in Islam?
" ... I’m a scholar of Islam who researches and writes about Muslim ritual practices. The Qur’an invokes the importance of Friday as a sacred day of worship in a chapter called “Al-Jumah,” meaning the day of congregation, which is also the word for Friday in Arabic ... "
What are the main ritual objects that are used in prayer service?
"There are no ritual objects used within Islamic services since Muslims believe that this would take away from the purpose of prayer, which is to communicate and have a personal relationship with God. ... "
"The English word "mosque" denotes a Muslim house of worship. The word evolved from the Arabic term masjid, which means "place of prostration." ... "
Hindu Temple Architecture
The architectural style of Hindu temples has developed over thousands of years, and has played a major role in the maintenance of Hindu traditions and beliefs. Most art and design elements in Hindu culture are religious in nature or at the very least possess strong religious influences. For this reason, Hindu architecture and design has been characterized by a strong trend toward conservatism. Many design elements that can be traced back to the earliest periods of recorded history are still used, centuries or even millennia later, because of the importance placed by Hinduism on adhering to tradition and incorporating it into all aspects of daily life. Some of the stylized archways found in many temples had their origin in designs that were required by the building materials available thousands of years ago; even though superior materials are now widely available, the style remains in use because of the long history associated with it.
"Hindu architecture evolved over the centuries from simple rock-cut cave shrines to massive and ornate temples which spread across the Indian sub-continent and beyond, forming a canonical style which is still adhered to today in modern Hindu temples across the globe ... "
Sacred Space and Symbolic Form at Lakshmana Temple, Khajuraho (India)
"The Lakshmana temple was the first of several temples built by the Chandella kings in their newly-created capital of Khajuraho. Between the 10th and 13th centuries, the Chandellas patronized artists, poets, and performers, and built irrigation systems, palaces, and numerous temples out of sandstone ... "
Hinduism: Ritual and Worship
"Hindu gods and goddesses are understood to be active forces in the world. Through a variety of rituals, they are made present to their devotees. Usually, although not exclusively, they are made present in temples ... "
Visiting a Hindu Temple
"Be they luxurious palaces, rustic warehouses, simple halls or granite sanctuaries, Hindu temples are springing up all over the world, numbering in the hundreds of thousands ... "
In Synagogue Design, Many Paths
"ON the outside, New York's newest synagogues have one thing in common: almost nothing ... "
Pre-Modern Synagogue Architecture and Interior Design
"Synagogues share certain functional interior furnishings, but there is no architectural design or artistic style that characterizes a synagogue ... "
Why Temples Look the Way They Do
" ... These "Stage One'' sanctuaries, usually rectangular in shape with high vaulted ceilings, were awe-inspiring spaces. Heavy woods, stone, and stained glass contributed to excellent acoustics. The organ and choir were hidden in a loft behind the ark or in a rear balcony to keep the worshiper from being distracted by the choir members ... "
Entering a Synagogue
"When you enter a traditional synagogue, put on a kippah [yarmulke] if you are a male (supplies are kept in almost every shul), and keep it on—even during the Kiddush and/or meal that follows the service ... "
"The synagogue is the Jewish place of worship, but is also used as a place to study, and often as a community centre as well ... "