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Special Issue of the Journal RELIGIONS
Sacred Spaces: Designing for the Transcendental
Guest Editor: Tammy Gaber
Abstract deadline: April 30, 2021
Dear ACSF colleagues,

I am very excited to share that I'll be guest-editing a special issue of the Journal RELIGIONS on Sacred Spaces. I immediately thought of ACSF and all of the wonderful research to have come from this group since its formation - indeed my understanding of what sacred space is (and can be) has been greatly influenced by the work of and conversations with ACSF members.
      I encourage you to consider the call for papers and reflect on any related work you may have. I also wanted to share that as guest-editor I can waive the open access fee for certain accepted papers, So let me know if you are interested!
     Below is the summary and link for further information.

Tammy Gaber

Sacred spaces are both the container and facilitator for framing transcendental or spiritual experiences, often in conjunction with liturgy and ritual. The qualities of the sacred space are choreographed, curated and crafted at all scales to emphasize and express this, from the selection of the site to the design of the smallest elements. The experiential qualities of a sacred space are directly connected to the craft of every detail, every sequence of space, every material and every governing geometric system of organization. Sacred spaces can inhabit a spectrum of buildings from large complexes to an individual room, and can also be specific landscapes and outdoor spaces.

How and where we find the sacred in today’s world sometimes draws inspiration from historical spaces but is also found in many new types of spaces and landscapes. The sacred may be found in both religious and non-religious environments, and the search for experiencing the transcendental and the design of spaces that allow this is a difficult task for architects, designers and users, as quite what makes a space sacred is difficult to articulate. The importance of spaces, both indoor and outdoor, intentionally designed for experiencing the sacred or transcendent, is of mounting relevance in today’s world as people navigate daily struggles and crises.

While many publications exist that focus on the aesthetics of historical sacred places, there is a small growing body of research documenting the lived experiences in historical and contemporary sacred places and some on the architectural and construction processes involved. However, much more research is needed to expand understanding in this often neglected subject in design practice and education.

This Special Issue of RELIGIONS invites researchers, architects, landscape architects, artists, students and scholars to consider the experience of sacred spaces, historical or contemporary. Designers are especially welcome to share insights in the process behind the design of sacred spaces they were a part of. Submissions may consider phenomenological and hermeneutical approaches as well as analysis utilizing methodological lenses to address the experience of sacred spaces, and are encouraged to include visual materials. Reflections and analysis of sacred spaces from all of the world's faiths are welcome as well as multi-faith spaces and non-religious contemplative and meditative spaces.

Key areas of focus may include (but are not limited to):

  • Analysis of historical spaces/landscapes framing sacred/transcendental experiences;
  • Analysis of contemporary spaces/landscapes framing sacred/transcendental experiences;
  • Analysis/reflection on the relationship of liturgy/ritual to space;
  • Analysis/reflection on the design and/or construction process of a sacred space;
  • Analysis/reflection on pedagogical exercises related to the design of sacred spaces;
  • Analysis/reflection on the lived practice of faith in a sacred space and/or the lived practice of design process;
  • Analysis/reflection on the overlap between the lived practice of faith and design of a sacred space;
  • Analysis/reflection on other aspects of sacred/ transcendental spaces.

Please submit an abstract of 300–500 words with your proposed area of research including the space(s) you are discussing, by April 30, 2021. Authors will be notified of acceptance by August 2021 for full paper submission (minimum 5000 words and 5 images) by December 1, 2021.

Dr. Tammy Gaber
Guest Editor

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