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Sacred Space


I was tasked with designing a place of worship or other religious environment that tells the story of a specific religion. I chose to base my religious environment on Japanese Buddhism. The environment had to be based upon the doctrine and canon of the actual religion. The environment could not be based upon the traditional or existing structures associated with the Japanese Buddhist religion but must convey the narrative (the story) of the religion through form, proportion, interaction, scale, and visual aesthetic. The design of the space facilitates interaction that enforces traditional observation of Japanese Buddhism. 

"Yellow embodies new meaning as the day transforms. In this sacred space, yellow reflects the colors of autumn, represents a spark of creativity and a bright moment in a new day. In the way the sun splashes on the brilliant colors of existing Buddhist temples, I seek out these fantastic moments of color to capture them within the space. To celebrate and respect nature at every turn and bring connection to the sky, people, and environment."

I chose incorporate key narratives and concepts within the design of my sacred space: 

  • Large single pitch gabled roof to achieve symbolic traditional temple architecture

  • First two pillars at the entrance of the building frame are likened to traditional temple gates

  • Lotus stretched to carved “tree” to represent 5 stories of a pagoda or stupa and allow for grand bright entrance

  • Three vertical sky light piercings atop the shrine to represent the three Buddhis jewels and create a bright friendly atmosphere

  • Inherently reflective of nature, value, history, and cultural heritage

  • Bold colored inner temple design to create awareness and introspection

  • Taking inspiration from symbolism and spiritual practices

  • Conceptually organized around harmony and spatial sequence with careful attention to craft and material detailing

  • Bring connection to the sky, people, and environment

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