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ARCHITECTURE AND CULTURE Kate Jordan School of Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, London, UK email@example.com Keywords: faith, religion: secular, architecture, space, twenty-first century Between the Sacred and Secular: Faith, Space, and Place in the Twenty-First Century Kate Jordan ABSTRACT In his 1954 poem, “Church Going,” Phillip Larkin pp. 1–27 anticipated the end of religion and the ruination of Britain’s DOI:10.1080/20507828.2023. churches. “What remains,” Larkin asked “when disbelief has gone? Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky.” In one respect, No potential conflict of interest was reported Larkin was right: the decline of traditional worship in the West did by the author. produce scores of redundant churches. But he was also wrong: the © 2023 The Author(s). tendency to view abandoned churches as proof that ultimately Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & “belief must die,” misses the myriad ways in which faith has, in Francis Group. This is an Open Access article fact, simply reconfigured and produced new spaces. Such distributed under the terms of weaknesses in the Western-centric disenchantment model have the Creative Commons Attribution License (http:// been recognized in the social sciences, where scholars are creativecommons.org/licenses/ increasingly looking toward the built environment to understand by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, new alignments in religion and society. However, the field remains and reproduction in any medium, provided the original somewhat overlooked by architectural theorists and historians. This work is properly cited. The article explores religious practices from an architectural terms on which this article has been published allow the perspective, offering an overview of faith, space and place in the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by twenty-first century. the author(s) or with their consent. 2 Introduction To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of religion would appear Between the Sacred and Secular to have been greatly exaggerated. In the early twentieth century, Max Kate Jordan Weber anticipated secularization as the inevitable by-product of modernization but, though elements of Weber’s model were prescient, the secular turn has followed an inconsistent trajectory; as it turned out, faith and worship were surprisingly resilient. In the twenty-first century, religion continues to shape the built landscape at every scale: from remote hermitages to vast mega-churches; multi-million pound mandirs to temples in converted high street shops (Figure 1). Digital technologies are transforming the lived experiences of faith, with new social and ritual practices emerging in cyberspace. The notion of virtual worship as an alternative to traditional practices, shifted rapidly from the theoretical to the indispensable during the Covid pandemic: websites, video communication software, live-streaming platforms, and virtual reality offered the possibility of new sites, operating either in parallel to or entirely detached from material places of worship. In addition to the seismic shifts wrought by digital technologies, the influence of globalization; free-market economics; new materials and building techniques; logistics, population movement and climate change have produced new faith communities and building types. In exploring the terrain of religion in the twenty-first century, this article offers a select review of recent scholarship and key projects and presents an individual perspective on faith, space and place in late modernity. Such an endeavor is ambitious in scope and the focus has inevitably narrowed on Europe and the Anglophone world. However, an emphasis on the significance of globalization in late modernity offers a window into practices across the global East and South. New critical approaches: space, materiality and economics Interrogating what the sociologist Grace Davie describes as the “persistent paradox” of religion in the twenty-first century, has required theorists to formulate new critical frameworks. The secularization theory that seemed so persuasive in the wake of Weber’s disenchantment thesis, has given way to the much-debated proposition of a “post- secular” landscape. This ambiguous term, employed by Charles Taylor in his seminal work A Secular Age and subsequently given traction by Jurgen Habermas following “Notes on Post-Secular Society,” aims to capture the shifting nature of religion across North America and Western Europe. The post-secular lens has proven particularly useful to urbanists: the geographer Justin Beaumont, for example, suggests that “it is in the urban that the shift from secular to post-secular… is most intensely observed and experienced.” Others, however, have approached the term with caution, arguing for more nuanced and subjective positions. For example, Kim Knott has questioned the value of religious, secular and post-secular “camps,” arguing instead for a sharper focus on the 3 Figure 1 Kali Amman Hindu Temple, Walthamstow, London, 2008. Courtesy of Sirj Photography. 5 significance of space. Knott’s development of a spatial methodology as a “theoretical framework for considering religious/secular relations in Between the Sacred and Secular Western modernity” has influenced subsequent analytical models that Kate Jordan foreground the space and place of religion. Notable among these is the geographer, Veronica della Dora’s “infrasecular geographies.” Drawing from Edward Soja’s “third space,” della Dora argues for a paradigm that “shifts attention from time to space; from progression and consecutiveness to simultaneity and coexistence.” As case studies to illustrate the utility of infrasecular geographies, della Dora considers the reuse of redundant churches for secular purposes—such spaces, she argues, clearly articulate the overlapping of sacred and secular as categories. Both Knott and della Dora place emphasis on the everyday in their analysis of space and religious practices and in doing so, align with sociologists who have identified domestic spheres as important sites of worship. For example, Meredith McGuire and Nancy Ammerman’s research into everyday and lived religion explores possibilities for “describing the social worlds in which religious ideas, practices, groups and experiences make an appearance [and] describing what religion itself looks like.” This area of scholarship synchronizes with the material turn in the humanities and the research of historians, such as Colleen McDannell, whose work on religion and popular culture in America has been influential. For McDannell, “experiencing the physical dimension of religion, helps bring about religious values, norms, behaviors and attitudes.” Historians, Lucinda Matthews-Jones and Timothy Jones have followed this direction of travel, arguing that “objects play an integral role in both institutional and personal expressions of faith.” The focal shift from public to private/theological to material in these discourses has offered ways of understanding the agency of marginalized groups in constructing their own spaces of worship and prayer. Contemporary religion has, correctly, come under the scrutiny of the socio-economist lens. Mathew Guest’s recent work on neoliberalism and religion, for example, continues the critical lineage established by Weber, offering an insightful analysis of the role of capitalism in the formation of contemporary religious cultures. For Guest, far from occupying mutually exclusive positions, religion and neoliberalism are indivisible: he argues that “What we find in the twenty-first century… is [that] religion has become ‘reciprocally entailed with economic forces’.” While Guest is not the first to use late capitalism as a frame of enquiry (he acknowledges a debt to, among other influential works, Peter Berger’s, The Sacred Canopy), his overview is valuable in foregrounding the significance of choice and individualism in the new religious marketplace. The religious marketplace: pluralism, hybridity and choice The prospect of a society in which religious practices were no longer proscribed by institutions but were instead shaped by the individual was 13 predicted by Emile Durkheim in the Division of Labor in Society. For Durkheim, religion was a litmus test for his social solidarity thesis: the shift from mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity would, in this model, confer greater self-determination and new forms of religion would unfold as a result. The extent to which this has come to pass in the twenty-first century has been explored by scholars across disciplines. Guest, for example, makes a convincing argument that religion is now “less bound by traditional structures and meanings, and is freed up to forge novel relationships and connections with a range of non-religious social phenomena.” The loosening of ties to “traditional structures and meanings” has seen the decline of Christianity in Europe and North America. Results from the latest UK census show that Christianity is now, for the first time, a minority religion, as it is in other European countries, such as Czechia. Similarly, the findings of a report following 20 years of research by the US-based Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, reveals that religious affiliation and attendance at places of worship has fallen markedly in the US since the beginning of the twenty- first century. These results reflect a general trend in census data that has been analyzed by the sociologist, Linda Woodhead. Woodhead suggests that despite the decline of Christianity in Britain (it is important to note that Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are growing in the UK) the population remains religious but in a different form; the decline of Christianity is in inverse proportion to the growth of new age and alternative religions, such as paganism and shamanism and the rise in those people who identify as spiritual but not religious. Sociologists have mapped this trend in the West onto the emergence of the consumer economy and the “turn to the self.” Here, as Guest, Davie and others suggest, intersections between the interests of faith and secular communities have produced a marketplace, in which religious groups must now compete for worshipers who are accustomed to a world shaped by choice and who curate their own devotional practices, often borrowing from a range of world religions and new-age practices and moving flexibility between them: a phenomenon that Davie describes as “believing without belonging.” In the US, this picture is supported by research undertaken by the anthropologist Amanda Lucia, who explores the rise of those who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Lucia observes that “SNBR [Spiritual but not religious] populations are defined by unimpeded individual choice that emerges as a result of freedom from religious institution.” Grace Davie makes a similar observation of spirituality in the UK: Specifically, the many and varied forms of ‘spiritual’ now present in Britain must be taken into account, as must the increasing tendency towards bricolage - that is the building of individual packages (both religious and spiritual), which reflect the diversity 6 of late-modern lifestyles rather better than historic forms of religiousness. And once started, the logic of choice is relentless. Between the Sacred and Secular It is almost certain to include a range of secular options which Kate Jordan 23 are as diverse as their religious counterparts. Though Davie is clear that this shift sits alongside traditional churches, it has had a marked impact on spaces designed to accommodate informal, personal and alternative worship. In some cases, this has obviated the need for physical places of worship altogether. For example, the urban planner, Katie McClymont considers the outdoor worship practices of new age or pagan Goddess-focused faiths, where the absence of spatial hierarchy offers greater agency in place-making for women. In the gaps between religion and secularism, humanist groups have emerged to meet an apparently enduring need to gather and belong. In his aptly titled study “Belonging Without Believing,” the sociologist Josh Bullock explores the Sunday Assembly, an “atheist church” established in London in 2013. Bullock argues that: The growth and initial demand of and for the Sunday Assembly indicate that a Christian culture still exists and the congregational community structure is still sought in a post- Christian transition. By rejecting Christianity, but with a heritage of Christian memory still persisting, the Sunday Assembly offers a suitable alternative to a congregational religious community. It is noteworthy that the Sunday Assembly was founded in a deconsecrated Anglican church but relocated partly because the Steiner School (itself built on the quasi-religious principles of Rudolf Steiner) with whom it shared the space, considered the Sunday Assembly’s motto, “antithetical to their own ethos.” A similar yearning for the structures of religion minus the supernatural is expressed by the writer Alain de Botton in his popular manifesto Religion for Atheists. In a chapter dedicated to architecture, de Botton calls for a new “religious” architecture for atheists: … we should revive and continue the underlying aims of religious architecture, by expressing these through secular temples designed to promote important emotions and abstract themes, rather than through sacred shrines dedicated to embodied deities de Botton’s proposed “Temple to Atheism,” a 46-m monolithic black tower in the City of London, designed in 2012 by architects Tom Greenall and Jordan Hodgson, remains on paper. However, the intentionally oxymoronic Secular Retreat in Devon, commissioned by de Botton and completed to austere designs by Peter Zumthor in 2019, 7 embodies some of the principles that de Botton outlines for a “Temple to Reflection,” which would create, “reassuring conditions for contemplation, allowing us to wait in a restful bare room for those rare insights upon which the successful course of our life depends.” Such architecture expresses a desire for the esthetic experience of religion without belief in a cosmic deity—and perhaps an underlying anxiety that uncompromising atheism is yoked to philistinism. Elsewhere, the merging of the spiritual, sacred and secular has been reflected in the rise of multi-use spaces. For example, the former Anglican church of St Augustine’s in Brighton now operates as St Augustine’s Arts and Events Center; a mixed-use site that blends traditional and new age religion with commercial enterprises. The building, which is owned and managed by a private secular organization, maintains the outward appearance of a late-Victorian church but has been reconfigured internally to facilitate several activities, including a purpose-built yoga studio, a cafe , offices and treatment rooms for holistic therapies. Importantly, however, it has retained the chancel for occasional worship by a Hare Krishna community and Pentecostal Christian services. Repurposing and reuse The decline of organized religion and the move toward hybrid and flexible practices has produced a growing supply of redundant places of worship. In Europe, Australia and North America, these are predominantly churches: as the American sociologist Wendy Cadge has noted “take a drive down Main Street of just about any major city in the country, and …you might pass more churches for sale than homes.” The challenge of repurposing deconsecrated spaces has been the subject of studies by both architects and heritage professionals, concerned about inappropriate or destructive reuse of sites that continue to carry symbolic meaning, memory and community value. The Conservation Network of the European Association of Architectural Education hosted a workshop in 2015 to explore this issue, with its transactions offering a valuable overview of current architectural approaches, scholarship and debates in the repurposing of religious buildings. The workshop used architectural responses to live case studies as a provocation to discussions of the ethical implications of projects. In her analysis of suitable uses, the conservation expert, Carolina Di Biase, observed the wider social impact of repurposing faith buildings: Churches, sanctuaries, monasteries and other places of worship constitute a rich artistic and historic patrimony whose significance is even more ‘intangible’ than that of other historical sites, and the future of such places raises political, legal, economic, sociological and of course, religious issues. 8 The religious issues that Di Biase refers to vary across denominations, with greater sensitivity around Catholic and Orthodox Between the Sacred and Secular churches that have been desconsecrated to allow for secular reuse. Kate Jordan The research of architectural historian and archeologist, Thomas Coomans has also focused on the reuse of places of worship across Europe. Coomans remarks on the particular complexities of repurposing a building from one faith use to another: Perhaps the most controversial change of use is when a place of worship is taken over by another religion. This could be considered paradoxical because the places then remain sacred and, in a certain way, the buildings are not ‘reused’ because they conserve a function related with worship. But it is well-known that the reuse of a church by a community of another religion is a particularly sensitive problem and is almost always considered a ‘defeat’ by those who ‘desert’ the place. Such transformations frequently serve as a flashpoint for nationalists who perceive multiculturalism as an exercise in replacing native traditions with those of migrant communities: for these groups, architecture is a potent symbol of social and political upheaval. For example, a proposal in 2015 by the rector of the Paris Grand Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, to convert redundant churches into mosques in France, was greeted with hostility by some clergy and conservative politicians. The debate revealed the depth of Islamophobia, not only among the far right but also in some quarters of the Catholic Church, with Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, suggesting that: “Muslims have no intention of praying in Christian churches—don’t kid yourself.” That this issue should generate such heated discussion in a constitutionally secular country with a long history of reuse of churches, highlights the enduring cultural significance of places of worship. Within and across borders: nationalism, transnationalism, and globalization Debates around the secular and post-secular condition are explicitly Western-centric—a weakness that, in the age of globalization, potentially undermines the relevance of much of this discourse. In the global East and South, adherence to organized religion continues to grow, with figures from the Pew Research Center revealing that at a global scale, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and some denominations of Christianity flourish and that numbers of atheists and agnostics are, in fact, declining: for most of world’s population, notions of the secular and post- secular are incidental. In addition, secular/post-secular discourse sometimes misses the persistent (and in some cases growing) prominence of religion in the public sphere across every continent, including those where religion is apparently in decline. This can be observed in the influence of Evangelicalism on jurisprudence in the US; 9 the establishment of a caliphate in Iraq and the Levant; the rise of Catholicism in Poland’s ultranationalist government and the place of religious fundamentalism in Israeli politics, where the nation’s most iconic religious landmark, the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Compound, is also its most politically divisive. The role of religion in politics (and vice versa) continues to be expressed in state-commissioned architecture and this is most conspicuous in nations that have turned, in the twenty-first century, away from secularism. For example, in 2020, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the new Hindu temple of Ram, in Ayodhya, built, controversially, on the site of a sixteenth-century mosque destroyed in 1992. In Turkey, president, Reycep Tayyip Erdogan commissioned the vast C¸amlica Mosque, completed in 2019. The building, now the largest mosque in Turkey was modeled on one of the great architectural legacies of the Ottoman Empire; the seventeenth-century Blue Mosque. In the Russian Federation, the Orthodox Cathedral for the Russian Armed Forces in Moscow, completed in 2020, is the third tallest Orthodox Church in the world and features mosaics of Stalin and Putin. In all three cases, the return to traditional and historicist styles coincides with the rise of nativist populism and authoritarian leadership. Elsewhere, the use of traditional styles in the diaspora—a practice that has a long history, which is especially visible in the US— continues to be employed as a means of maintaining bonds with homelands. This is evident at all scales: from the modest repurposing of secular buildings to the construction of large purpose-built sites. While this is not a twenty-first century phenomenon, the development of new building techniques and advances in communication, digital technology and logistics, has enabled the reproduction of monumental places of worship, raising new questions about authenticity and tradition. For example, at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in London, designed by C.B. Sompura and completed in 1995, the community exported marble from Bulgaria and Italy to be carved in Gujarat and then shipped to the UK as prefabricated components to be assembled in-situ (Figure 2). The transnational character of this building, asks us to understand it on an entirely different plane to earlier British mandirs. Elsewhere in the UK, the architectural historian, Megha Chand Inglis, examined the construction process at the Shree Krishna Temple in West Bromwich, visiting the factory in Ahmedabad where the stone for the temple was carved. In focusing on the manufacture of the temple’s parts, Inglis’s work considers not only logistics and communication but also the contentious use of digital and machine techniques, as an alternative to traditional craft skills. In recent years, scholars have paid increasing attention to informal architecture in migrant communities and the ways in which this is, often invisibly, embedded in the urban grain. For example, the geographer, Clare Dwyer’s pioneering ethnographic project, “Making Figure 2 BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasdon, London, C.B. Sompura, 1995. Courtesy of Sirj Photography. Suburban Faith,” explored the significance of material culture, ritual, interiors and community spaces to different British faith groups in shaping diasporic identity. A key output of the project was the photographic exhibition, “Faith in suburbia: a shared photographic journey” in which Dwyer worked with the photographer, Liz Hingley to document a selection of places of worship across London, with representatives of each community (Sikh, Muslim, Hindu and Christian) working together to photograph the buildings and their internal spaces. The participant photography method generated cross-faith dialogue, and offered a visual story of each site, that focused on everyday and lived religion. The methods employed in the project reflected the shift in scholarship toward the vernacular, domestic and material culture. As Dwyer observed: Paying attention to the ways in which ‘ordinary’ faith lives are lived in ‘everyday’ suburban spaces thus opens up important ways to both reconfigure suburban geographies and rematerialize geographies of religion. A similar methodology was employed by Shahed Saleem and Julie Marsh, who used a combination of ethnography, filmmaking, 3D scans 11 and 1:1 scale models in their work on “Three British Mosques,” exhibited at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. The installation, which explored the repurposing of buildings as mosques, focused on the perspectives and experiences of community members. Though tradition continues to orient many worshipers, not all faith architecture in the twenty-first century cleaves to the past. The internationalism of the mid-twentieth century, symbolized by the Modern Movement, gave way to globalization by the end of the century: a transformation that was driven by financial markets and the internet and found its architectural expression in high-tech. The cultural anonymity demanded by twentieth-century Modernists shaped the movement’s iconic places of worship: those, such as Le Corbusier’s Notre-Dame du Haut and Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasilia Cathedral and inspired the late twentieth-century minimalism of Alvaro Siza’s Santa Maria at Marco de Canavezes and Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light. The influence of these buildings has endured in the twenty-first century, with high-profile international architects, such as John Pawson and Peter Zumthor, continuing to favor minimalism and controlled natural light as keynotes— and significantly, to the specifications of the religious groups who engage them (Figure 3). Of note, here, is the Church of the Jubilee, commissioned by the Vatican to mark the millennium and express the values and spirituality of the modern Catholic church. The architect Richard Meier, known for his idiosyncratic white architecture, was commissioned to design a church that is minimalist, ahistorical and entirely white—a building that, in fact, renders the values of the Catholic church unreadable. Beyond the Jubilee Church, the reasons that underpin an abiding taste (among architects and religious communities) for whiteness in Christian architecture deserve further attention. Minimalist styles have also been employed in other world faiths. In contrast to Turkey’s C¸amlica mosque, for example, the Sancaklar € € Mosque, in Buyukc¸ekmece, a suburb of Istanbul, employs a radical stripped back design, that gives little indication of the building’s purpose (Figure 4). Other examples of mosques that eschew tradition and conspicuous symbolism include the Cahndagon Mosque in Bangladesh; the Masjid Daing Abdul Rahman, Johor, Malaysia and the Abijo Mosque, Lagos, Nigeria. Similarly, Buddhism has explored both contemporary styles and mixed-use. For example, the Bow Yun Temple in Taiwan; the Buddhist Retreat in Grover, Utah; and the White Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Much of this architecture is shaped by new technologies and the styles that have followed in their wake—the use of CAD has enabled architects to produce designs that were hitherto impossible and this has undoubtedly influenced architectural trends. However, fashions in faith architecture must be parsed differently to those of other building types. In many cases, the move away from tradition toward generic styles mirrors theological shifts—those perhaps that emphasize the spiritual over the sacred. Figure 3 Moritzkirche, Augsberg, Germany, John Pawson, 2013. Courtesy of Susanne Bauer. Figure 4 The Sancaklar Mosque, Istanbul, Emre Arolat Architecture, 2013. Courtesy of Sirj Photography. The cultural anonymity of some contemporary places of worship may also reflect population shifts, migration and the subsequent rise of pluralism and ecumenism. The blurring of difference and the sharing of both spiritual and architectural languages finds its apotheosis in multi- faith spaces, where the absence of religious symbolism is less a design choice and more a necessity. The architectural historian, Andrew Crompton and theologian, Terry Biddington have made a comprehensive study of multi-faith prayer rooms in public buildings, such as airports, shopping centers and museums, while Sophie Gilliat Ray’s research on the prayer space in the Millennium Dome offers a particularly pertinent reading of multi-faith space at the dawn of twenty-first century. As the demographic complexion of countries have shifted over the last two decades, the need for such spaces has grown. At a larger scale, high-profile multi-faith initiatives, such as the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, completed in 2023, demonstrate a drive to focus on the essential rather than cultural, as the scheme’s architect David Adjaye emphasizes: As an architect I want to design a building that starts to dissolve the notion of hierarchical difference – it should represent 14 universality and totality – something higher that enhances the richness of human life. Between the Sacred and Secular Kate Jordan Similarly, the interfaith “House of One,” in Germany’s multicultural capital, Berlin aims to be “a symbol of peaceful dialogue” between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. The landmark project was conceived in 2011 and a global fundraising campaign was mounted in 2012, with the foundation stone finally laid in 2021. The competition brief for the building, required that it “exude an inviting openness to everyone, even those who are not religious, while clearly incorporating design elements that transmit the identities of the three religions outwardly.” Whether the selected architect, Kuehn Malvezzi, will achieve this ambitious objective with the simple, brick building that is currently under construction, remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is that many religious groups view ecumenism and the dismantling of difference as progress. Others, however, may see the loss of cultural and religious identity as a function of assimilation. Virtual thresholds: places of worship in the digital age The globalization of religious practices was accelerated from 2020 onwards by the Covid pandemic, which necessitated remote sites of worship, devotion and pilgrimage. Much of the technology that had been developed theoretically, became a vital facilitator of religious practice during lockdown, with many forms of digital worship continuing to flourish as the possibilities for expanded reach have unfolded. This has added fresh impetus to scholarship in the field of digital religion, with a burgeoning of recent studies on telemediated services, virtual and augmented reality and the use of social media. The cross-disciplinary field of digital religion studies began to emerge in the mid-1990s to address the role of the internet in prayer and organized worship. Much of this research has since coalesced around the Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Studies, founded in 2010 and based at Texas A&M University. The work of Heidi Campbell, Director of the Network, has been particularly useful in providing an overview of recent scholarship across different disciplines, considering aspects of digital religion from computer gaming to virtual worship spaces. Campbell has highlighted the research of architectural theorist, Nesrine Mansour, who discusses the potential for displaced communities to recreate faith buildings and generate spiritual experiences in virtual worlds. More recently Mansour has explored the possibilities for virtually reproducing the effects of light in material sacred spaces. The work of Mansour and others explores virtual worship in parallel to physical spaces. Elsewhere, however, efforts have begun to establish communities that exist solely in cyberspace, enabling worshipers from across the world to join live services. For example, VR Church is a “spiritual community” that functions exclusively in the 15 Metaverse; worshipers equipped with VR headsets are invited to create avatars and join a globally-connected congregation. There is nothing on the VR Church website that indicates the particular culture or theology of this community, led by the self-styled “Bishop of the Metaverse,” D.J. Soto; rather, the focus is on the immersive and experiential qualities of the church. This perhaps, highlights the risk of homogenization that Western-centric cyber-religions pose. Such practices are not confined to Christianity. At the University of Kyoto, the Buddhist scholar, Seiji Kumagai has been working with tech entrepreneur, Toshikazu Furuya to develop the “Teraverse,” a virtual Buddhist temple where worship is mediated by the AI-based chatbot, “Buddhabot.” The initiative has been driven, in part by the cost of building-maintenance and the increasing closure of Buddhist temples. In addition, Kumagi suggests that virtual worship may help reverse the declining interest in traditional worship amongst the young. Elsewhere in Japan, an extensive ethnographic project has drawn on interviews to examine the effects of Covid on religious practices. Levi McLaughlin, set out to explore how worshipers’ activities had changed in response to Covid, interviewing adherents of Shinto, Buddhism and New Religions (those founded or imported over the last two hundred years). McLaughlin’s project explored the challenge of transitioning pilgrimages, services and even funerals to online platforms in a culture in which religion is “intensely social.” His findings revealed the ingenuity and enterprise of clergy, in their determination to find ways of continuing to minister to their congregations. As one Buddhist cleric, described: Covid 19 will not put a stop to my activities. No matter what it takes, I must transmit the teachings of the Buddha. I have begun broadcasting my thoughts via Youtube … from last year, I started an internet radio broadcast and I’ve been putting my efforts into that as well. Other researchers have focused on the effect of homes becoming temporary places of worship during Covid, as services appeared on television and computer screens. For example, John R Bryson, Lauren Andres and Andrew Davies, brought together geography and theology to explore the impact of live-streamed telemediated services, exploring, in particular, the way in which “the minister’s home is temporarily linked to the homes of congregants, forming a new intersacred space.” Such spaces created novel encounters between the sacred and secular, which have allowed Bryson et al to test the value of Veronica della Dora’s infrasecular framework. In the post-pandemic landscape, some digital initiatives have endured, while others have been less effective at reproducing in-person experiences. An interactive digital Hajj experience produced by the German software developer, Bigitec, for example, seems to have made 16 little impact on the numbers of those returning to Mecca in person, following lockdown. However, the suggestion by Bigitec that virtual Between the Sacred and Secular pilgrimages are a more sustainable alternative may offer such initiatives Kate Jordan a future, potentially supporting guidance set out in the Green Guide for Hajj, produced by the NGO Global One. Worship in the anthropocene: the rise of eco-religion The Green Guide for Hajj, which emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship in Islam and advocates for the use of renewable energy, sustainable cities and greening public buildings, reflects a move across all faiths to recognize the impact of climate change. This has been accompanied by a growing body of cross- disciplinary scholarship on religion and the anthropocene. Of significance to this article, is the work of the German-Swedish theologian, Sigurd Bergmann whose research on contemporary religion includes studies of both the built environment and ecology, which he draws together under the rubric of a spatial theology that synthesizes “the esthetical, ethical, religious and ecological in the microcosm of architecture.” For some religious communities, environmentalism has a particular resonance with their spirituality and vocation. For example, the Benedictine rule of stability means that monastic communities are tethered to particular sites and therefore develop deep connections with their local environments. This is reflected in the purpose-built Stanbrook Abbey (completed in 2015) in the North Yorkshire moors and Mucknall Abbey, a repurposed farm and new chapel in Herefordshire (completed in 2011). These buildings have reimagined traditional monastic architecture, foregrounding nature and ecology: where agricultural self-sufficiency was a historical feature of monastic life, this has been articulated at Stanbrook and Mucknall through energy independence. Both schemes were responses to briefs produced by the communities: at Stanbrook, the nuns selected Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios for their expertise in sustainable architecture, commissioning a set of buildings that reinterpret the traditional monastic plan and employing eco-technology and locally sourced materials that blend with the natural landscape (Figure 5). At Mucknall Abbey, the mixed community of nuns and monks engaged the practice Acanthus Clews to adapt a collection of Victorian farm buildings, using recycled and local materials. The drive to create a sustainable monastery explicitly reflects the community’s principles, as their mission statement suggests: Today we maintain a deeply held commitment to ecumenism and in more recent times have sought to address in whatever ways we can the ecological crisis facing our world. For without a habitable planet, there will be no future kingdom. Figure 5 Stanbrook Abbey, North Yorkshire, UK, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, 2015. Courtesy of Sirj Photography. Elsewhere, a focus on renewable energy and sustainable technology has been a valuable promotional tool in high-profile projects. For example, Cambridge Central Mosque, designed by Marks Barfield and completed in 2019, has won much acclaim for being the first eco-mosque in Europe (Figure 6). According to the mosque’s website: The mosque is committed to sustainability: its advanced eco- design gives it a near-zero carbon footprint, honors natural forms with sustainable timber vaulting, and reminds the visitor of our connection to nature. With the use of photovoltaic cells on the roof, locally-generated energy and a grey water and rainwater harvesting system, the environmental credentials of the mosque are far deeper than greenwashing but its status as an “eco-mosque” has no doubt served as a valuable publicity. In addition to eco-technology, the use of sustainable materials has also been a feature of recent schemes. Rammed earth, for example, which has a long tradition of use in parts of Asia, has gained popularity in recent years and has been employed in several schemes, including Berlin’s Chapel of Reconciliation (2000) and the Dandaji Mosque in Niger (2018). 18 Between the Sacred and Secular Kate Jordan Figure 6 Cambridge Central Mosque, Cambridge, Marks Barfield Architects, 2019. Courtesy of Sirj Photography. In the Jewish cemetery in Bushey, Hertfordshire, the prayer halls designed by Waugh Thistleton and completed in 2017, are constructed almost entirely from rammed earth, largely on account of its sustainability (Figure 7). The building was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize in 2018 with the RIBA suggesting that the use of rammed earth carried an additional significance: The fact that the rammed earth walls of the prayer hall will return to the earth once the cemetery is full and has to be extended again, is a poetic response to the programme for the cemetery and the traditions of the Jewish faith. Whether this symbolism was part of the brief and accurately reflects Jewish spirituality remains unclear. Conclusion This article has touched on some aspects of faith, space and place in the twenty-first century while remaining keenly aware of its limitations and omissions. Perhaps the most significant gap in this review is the relative absence of women and LGBTQ groups in the shaping of religious space. It would be remiss to ignore the fact that religious groups frequently Figure 7 Bushey Cemetery Prayer Halls, Hertfordshire, Waugh Thistleton, 2017. Courtesy of Sirj Photography. side-line (and in some cases oppress) both women and LGBTQ people and that their agency in shaping faith spaces and practices is often circumscribed. As a result, the literature on both the gendering and queering of religious space is scant: as the urban planner, Clara Greed has recently suggested, gender is rarely acknowledged in debates about the secular and post-secular, and frequently overlooked in studies of urban planning. Similarly, religious architectural practice is an arena that continues to be overwhelmingly male-dominated, although a notable exception to this, which deserves closer attention, has been the rise of women designing mosques, especially in Turkey. These include Zeynep Fadillioglu, Bahar Mizrak, Hayriye Gul Totu and beyond Turkey, Marina Tabassum, Mariam Kamara and Julia Barfield. LGBTQ communities have also been under-represented, with few studies or projects exploring queer faith spaces. Of note, here, is the global rise of the Metropolitan Community Church, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1968 to minister to the LGBTQ community: a valuable study of their purpose-built church in Washington DC (designed in 1992 by Suzan Reatig) and the residential space surrounding it, is offered by the sociologist, Stephen Hunt. However, such examples are in short supply and I hope that the gaps in this review, highlight the uneven distribution of power in shaping places 20 of worship and the need for further research to uncover forms of agency among marginalized groups. Between the Sacred and Secular This raises a larger point about the position of religious Kate Jordan architecture in secular research: religion is, by its nature, moored to immutable truths and laws and therefore often perceived to be at odds with progressive scholarship. However, secular scholars must be wary of assumptions; we are frequently mistaken in the way that we interpret unfamiliar traditions and impose our own values. This is particularly pertinent in the case of sex-segregated spaces in mosques and orthodox synagogues. Such sites require nuanced analysis that focuses as much on the voices of worshipers as on architectural readings. Indeed, few fields of scholarship ask the researcher to listen without prejudice more than the study of religion. Finally, in assembling this critical overview, it has become clear that, while detailed studies of places of worship in the twenty-first century have been conducted in the fields of theology, geography, planning, sociology, and anthropology, there has been considerably less work by architectural historians and theorists. Some notable contributions to scholarship have been made by, among others, architects and theorists, such as Julio Bermudez and Juhani Pallasmaa and several important cross-disciplinary edited collections offer a picture of recent scholarship but more extensive studies remain to be done, especially in the emerging field of digital religion. Kate Jordan is a senior lecturer in architectural history and theory at the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary faith architecture and inclusive heritage. Notes 1. Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the David Goodhew in his analysis of Spirit of Capitalism (London: George London’s churches. David Goodhew and Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1930, trans.). Anthony-Paul Cooper, eds., The 2. Grace Davie, Religion in Britain: A Descularisation of the City: London’s Persistent Paradox (Chichester: Wiley Churches, 1980 to the Present (London Blackwell, 2015). and New York, NY: Routledge, 2019). 3. Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Harvard, 4. Justin Beaumont, “Transcending MA: Harvard University Press, 2007). the Particular in Postsecular Cities,” Jurgen Habermas, “Notes on Post- in Exploring the Postsecular City: secular Society,” New Perspectives The Religious, the Political and the Quarterly 25, no. 4 (2008): 17–29. It is Urban, ed. Arie Moledijk, Justin important to note that Peter Berger, Beaumont, and Christoph Jedan among others, proposes the term (Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill, “desecularization” to describe the shift 2010), 3. from secularisation. This has term has 5. Kim Knott, The Location of Religion: A been employed by others as an Spatial Analysis (London and New York, alternative to the post-secular, including NY: Routledge, 2014), 126. Also see, Knott, “Cutting through the Postsecular Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review 21 City: A Spatial Interrogation,” in 78, no. 3 (2017): 247–262. Exploring the Postsecular City: The 18. The 2021 UK census revealed that the Religious, the Political and the Urban number of Pagans had risen from 57,000 (Leiden and Boston, MA: Brill, 2010), in 2011 to 74,000. The fastest growing 19–38. religion in the UK was Shamanism, 6. Knott, The Location of Religion, 234. which increased more than tenfold to 7. Veronica della Dora, “Infrasecular 8000 from 650 in 2011. “Religion, Geographies: Making, Unmaking and England and Wales: Census,” 2021, Remaking Sacred space,” Progress in Office for National Statistics. Available Human Geography 42, no. 1 (2018): 44– online: https://www.ons.gov.uk/ 71, 48. peoplepopulationandcommunity/ 8. Nancy T. Ammerman, ed. Everyday culturalidentity/religion/bulletins/ Religion: Observing Modern Religious religionenglandandwales/census2021 Lives (Oxford: Oxford University Press, (accessed April 30, 2023). 2006), 6. See also Meredith McGuire, 19. Guest, Neoliberal Religion. Lived Religion: Faith and Practice in 20. Grace Davie, Religion in Britain: A Everyday Life (Oxford: Oxford University Persistent Paradox, 2nd ed. (Chichester: Press, 2008). Wiley Blackwell, 2015), 161. 9. Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: 21. For a discussion of hybrid spiritualities, Religion and Popular Culture in America see Graham Harvey and Giselle Vincett, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, “Alternative Spiritualities: Marginal and 1996), 2. Mainstream,” in Religion and Change in 10. Timothy Willem Jones and Lucinda Modern Britain, ed. Linda Woodhead and Matthews-Jones, eds. Material Religion Rebecca Catto (Oxford: Routledge, 2012). in Modern Britain: The Spirit of Things 22. Amanda Lucia, White Utopias: The (New York, NY: Palgrave McMillian, Religious Exoticism of Transformational 2015), 2. Festivals (Oakland, CA: University of 11. Matthew Guest, Neoliberal Religion: Faith California Press, 2020). See also, and Power in the Twenty-First Century Amanda Lucia, “Representation and Whiteness among the ‘Spiritual but Not (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2022), 15. Religious’,” September 24, 2020, Canopy 12. Peter Berger, Sacred Canopy: Elements Forum on the Interactions of Law and of a Sociological Theory of Religion (New Religion. Available online: https:// York, NY: Anchor Books, 1990). canopyforum.org/2020/09/24/ 13. Emile Durkheim, The Division of Labor in representation-and-whiteness-among- Society (New York, NY: Free Press, the-spiritual-but-not-religious/ 2014). (accessed January 19, 2023). 14. Guest, Neoliberal Religion, 18. 23. Davie, Religion in Britain,8. 15. “Religion by Age and Sex, England and 24. The 2016 International Report on Wales Census,” 2021. Available online: Religious Buildings in Transition, https://www.ons.gov.uk/ indicates that denominations vary in peoplepopulationandcommunity/ how they regard mixed-use: “religious culturalidentity/religion/articles/ communities have very different religionbyageandsexenglandandwales/ attitudes to the physical heritage. Some census2021 (accessed February 1, (such as the Orthodox and Roman 2023). Catholic Churches) regard the buildings 16. Scott Thumma, “Twenty Years of and their contents as sacred. Others Congregational Change: The 2020 Faith (such as most Protestant Churches) are Communities Today Overview” (Hartford, very much open to multifunctional use CT: Cooperative Congregational Studies of the premises.” Henrik Lindblad and Partnership in Association with Hartford Eva Lofgren, International Report on Institute for Religion Research, 2021). Religious Buildings in Transition: An 17. Linda Woodhead, “The Rise of ‘No International Comparison (Gothenburg: Religion’: Towards an Explanation,” University of Gothenburg, 2016), 29. 22 25. Katie McClymont, “Neo-Paganisms, Dijn, J. De Maeyer, R. Heynickx, and B. ‘Dark Green Religion’ and What the Verschaffel (Leuven: Leuven University Between the Sacred and Divine Feminine Might Mean for Press, 2012), 221–241, 222. Secular Planning,” in Gender and Religion in the 36. Available online: https://www.thetablet. Kate Jordan City: Women, Urban Planning and co.uk/news/2174/turn-france-s-empty- Spirituality, ed. Clara Greed (Abingdon: churches-into-mosques-says-muslim- Routledge, 2020). leader (accessed February 1, 2023). 26. Josh Bullock, “The Sociology of the 37. Available online: https://www. Sunday Assembly: ‘Belonging without pewresearch.org/religion/2015/04/02/ Believing’ in a Post Christian Context” religious-projections-2010-2050/ (PhD diss., Kingston University, 2017), iv. (accessed January 19, 2023). 27. Ibid., 49. 38. Examples of the influence of 28. Alain de Botton, Religion for Atheists Evangelicalism on US policy-making, (London and New York, NY: Penguin, include the reversal of Roe V. Wade in 2013), 275. 2022 and the bill, passed by the Texas 29. Rose Etherington, “Alain de Botton Senate in 2023, requiring public school Plans Temples for Atheists,” Dezeen, classrooms to display the Ten January 2012. Available online: https:// Commandments. www.dezeen.com/2012/01/25/alain-de- 39. Megha Chand Inglis, “Stories from a botton-plans-temples-for-atheists/ CNC Factory in Ahmedabad,” Dearq,27, (accessed April 29, 2023). 2020, 20–35. 30. de Botton, Religion for Atheists, 267. 40. Claire Dwyer, David Gilbert, and Bindi 31. Wendy Cadge and Elan Babchuck, Shah, “Faith in Suburbia: Secularisation, “American Religion Is Not Dead Yet,” The Modernity and the Changing Atlantic, January 6, 2023. Available Geographies of Religion in London's online: https://www.theatlantic.com/ Suburbs,” Transactions of the Institute of politics/archive/2023/01/us-religious- British Geographers 38, no. 3 (2013): affiliation-rates-declining/672729/ 403–419. (accessed January 31, 2023). 41. Clare Dwyer, “Photographing Faith in 32. Donatella Fiorani, Loughlin Kealy, and Suburbia,” Cultural Geographies 22, no. 3 Stefano Francesco Musso, eds. (2014): 531–538. “Conservation, Adaptation: Keeping Alive 42. The installation was commissioned as the Spirit of the Place Adaptive Reuse of the V&A Pavilion for the Biennale. Heritage with Symbolic Value,” in EAAE Christopher Turner, “Three British Transactions on Architectural Education, Mosques at the 2021 Venice No. 65 (Hasselt: EAAE, 2017). Architecture Biennale,” The V&A, 2021. 33. Carolina di Biase, “Suitable Reuse Available online: https://www.vam.ac.uk/ Rather than Adaptive: Religious Heritage blog/design-and-society/three-british- in Contemporary Societies,” in mosques-at-the-2021-venice- Conservation Adaptation: Keeping Alive architecture-biennale (accessed the Spirit of the Place Adaptive Reuse of February 2, 2023). Heritage with Symbolic Value, EAAE 43. For example, see Peter Zumthor’s Transactions on Architectural Education, Bruder Klaus Kapelle, completed in No. 65, ed. Donatella Fiorani, Loughlin 2007 and John Pawson’s Abbey of Our Kealy, and Stefano Francesco Musso Lady of Novy Dvur (2004) and (Hasselt: EAAE, 2017), 55. Moritzkirche (2013). For an account of 34. Henrik Lindblad and Eva Lofgren, the design, offered by the client, see H. International Report on Religious Haug and U. Horwick, Built up towards Buildings in Transition: An International Comparison (Gothenburg: University of the Light: John Pawson’s Redesign of the Moritzkirche in Augsburg (Munich: Gothenburg, 2016), 57. Hirmer, 2019). 35. Thomas Coomans, “Reuse of Sacred 44. For a discussion of whiteness in relation Spaces: Perspectives for a Long to the Church of the Year 2000 see Tradition,” in Loci Sacre: Understanding Sacred Places, eds. T. Coomans, H. De Victoria George, Whitewash and the New Aesthetics of the Protestant Reformation and Spirituality Symposium (ACS10), 23 (London: Pindar Press, 2012), 44. 2018), 1–5. 45. Available online: https://de51gn.com/22- 54. Nesrine Mansour, “The Holy Light of Cyberspace: Spiritual Experience in a contemporary-mosques-around-the- Virtual Church,” Religions 13, no. 2 world-that-redefine-sacral-architecture- (2022): 121. with-respect/ 55. VR Church in the Metaverse. Available 46. See Peter Anson for an account of the online: https://www.vrchurch.org/ significance of church fashions (accessed February 2, 2023). Petriplatz, understanding social and 56. Seiji Kumagai, “Development of theological shifts. Peter Anson, Fashions Buddhist AI, AR, and VR toward the in Church Furnishings and Decor, 1840– Establishment of Buddhist Metaverse 1940 (London: The Faith Press, 1960). ‘Tera-verse’,” Kuensel, October, 2022. 47. Andrew Crompton, “The Architecture of Available online: https://kuenselonline. Multi-Faith Spaces: God Leaves the com/development-of-buddhist-ai-ar- Building,” Journal of Architecture 18, no. and-vr-toward-the-establishment-of- 4 (2013): 474–496. Sophie Gilliat Ray, buddhist-metaverse-tera-verse/ “‘Sacralising’ Sacred Space in Public (accessed February 2, 2023). Institutions: A Case Study of the Prayer 57. Kumagi suggests that, “While young Space at the Millennium Dome,” Journal people overvalue economics and of Contemporary Religion 20, no. 3 technology, they are beginning to lose (2005): 357–372. For a study of airport interest in tradition and religion. prayer space in the US see also Marion However, technologies such as AI and Bowman, Kimberly J. Lau, and Teri F. the metaverse have the potential to Brewer, “Sacred Spaces in Liminal make the younger generation more Places: Airport Chapels and Religion in interested in tradition and religion.” Seiji Transit” (American Folklore Society, Video Kumagi, “Development of Buddhist AI.” presentation, 2004). 58. Levi McLaughlin, “Japanese Religious 48. David Adjaye, Abrahamic Family House, Responses to COVID-19; A Preliminary Adjaye Associates. Available online: Report,” The Asia Pacific Journal 8, no. 9 https://www.adjaye.com/work/the- (3) (2020): 17–23. abrahamic-family-house/ (accessed 59. Ibid., 14. April 29, 2023). 60. John Bryson, Lauren Andres, and 49. House of One, “The Concept.” Available Andrew Davis, “Covid-19, Virtual Church online: https://house-of-one.org/en/ Services and a New Temporary concept (accessed February 1, 2023). Geography of Home,” Royal Dutch 50. “House of Prayer and Learning at Geographical Society 11, no. 3 (2020): Petriplatz, Berlin, Limited, One Stage 360–372, 360. Competition,” Architects competition 61. Muslim 3D. Available online: https:// brief, 2012, 12. muslim3d.io/ (accessed April 30, 2023). 51. Network for New Media, Religion and 62. Green Guide for Hajj (Alliance of Digital Culture Studies. Available online: Religions and Conservation (ARC), 2021). https://digitalreligion.tamu.edu/ 63. Sigurd Bergmann, “Theology in Its (accessed February 1, 2023). Spatial Turn: Space Place and Built 52. See for example, Heidi Campbell, ed., Environments Challenging and Changing Digital Religion: Understanding Religious the Images of God,” Religion Compass 1, Practice in New Media Worlds (London no. 3 (2007): 329–413, 368. See also and New York, NY: Routledge, 2013); Sigurd Bergmann, ed., Theology in Built Heidi Campbell and Wendi Bellar, eds., Environments: Exploring Religion Digital Religion: The Basics (London and Architecture and Design (New York, NY: New York, NY: Routledge, 2023). Routledge, 2017); Marcus Vogt, Celia 53. Nesrine Mansour and Anat Geva, Deane-Drummond, and Sigurd “Displacement in the Era of Digital Bergmann, eds., Religion in the Religion and Virtual Sacred Architecture” Anthropocene (Cambridge: Lutterworth (Conference Paper, Architecture, Culture Press, 2018). 24 64. Bernhard Freyer et al., “Is There a award-winners/2018/bushey-cemetery Relation between Ecological Practices (accessed February 1, 2023). Between the Sacred and and Spirituality? The Case of 69. Clara Greed, ed., Gender and Religion in Secular Benedictine Monasteries,” Journal of the City: Women, Urban Planning Kate Jordan Agricultural and Environmental Ethics and Spirituality (Abingdon: Routledge, 31 (2018): 559–582. See also 2020). Richard Irvine, “The Architecture of 70. Some work that is concerned with Stability: Monasteries and the queering sacred space, offers tangential Importance of Place in a World of ways of reading faith architecture. See Non-places,” Etnofoor 23, no. 1 (2011): for example, Sally R. Munt, Andrew 29–49. Kam-Tuck Yip, and Kath Brown, eds., 65. K. Jordan, “Modernity and Monasticism: Queer Spiritual Spaces: Sexuality and Roman and Anglo Catholic Monasteries Sacred Places (London and New York, in the Twentieth Century,” in Places of NY: Routledge, 2010). Worship in Britain and Ireland and 71. Stephen Hunt, “Faith-Based Queer Ireland, 1929–1990, ed. 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Architecture and Culture – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jun 13, 2023
Keywords: faith; religion: secular; architecture; space; twenty-first century
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