The Forum on Architecture, Spirituality, and Culture will host its 2023 annual international symposium in New York City and its environs–one of the epicenters of the global pandemic–to explore, speculate, and contemplate the present and future of a post-pandemic world.
Our 13th Annual meeting will take place May 31 – June 4, 2023, when we will gather at Thomas Berry Place, a Passionist Retreat Center attached to their monastery in Jamaica, Queens, New York. New York is one of the most ethnically, culturally, spiritually, gastronomically, architecturally, and environmentally diverse places on the face of the Earth. We will partake of its environs with explorations of sacred landmark sites in and around the city. Weatherwise, May/June is one of the best times to visit the New York City area. Early in June, afternoon high temperatures are very pleasant, averaging mostly in the low to mid-70sF (22-24C). Early morning lows will fall to the mid to upper 50sF (13-15C) while a couple of cooler mornings can see lows down into the upper 40sF to near 50F (9-10C).
All symposium events (save for exploration of New York environs) will take place at Thomas Berry Place, including meals and lodging. While its setting is amid one of the world’s most vital cities, the Thomas Berry Place venue offers a private, contemplative, and beautiful setting conducive to sharing, considering, and speculating about the issues before us. Well served by public transportation, Thomas Berry Place is highly accessible, steps away from the Jamaica 179th Street stop on the city’s E and F subway lines. The venue is a short, 20-minute drive from either LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or JFK International Airport (JFK).
As in previous symposia, ACSF 13 will be structured around a main topic (“New Patterns of Communion”) but is also open for ideas, works, and proposals relevant to the Forum’s areas of interest. We will keep the number of attendees to around 50 to maintain an intimate and dialogical atmosphere. The opening keynote address will be given by Suchi Reddy (whose award-winning design practice focus on cultural, educational, healthcare, retail, commercial, and residential projects) and Sharon Prince (CEO and founder of Grace Farms, a peaceful respite and porous platform for people to experience nature, encounter the arts, pursue justice, foster community, and explore faith). We are also looking forward to screening the ACSF/CTI Critical Conversations films followed by discussion for the third evening. As is our custom, the final evening will be dedicated to presenting the ACSF Outstanding Achievement Award followed by the recipient’s keynote address. This year, it will be renowned Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza.
Established in 2007, the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum provides an international forum for scholarship, education, practice, and advocacy regarding the cultural and spiritual significance of the built environment. ACSF believes that the design and experience of the built environment can assist the spiritual development of humanity in service of addressing the world’s most pressing issues.
The world during the worldwide pandemic suffered not only medically but also spiritually. We isolated ourselves from each other, missed family members and friends, forewent serendipitous opportunities to form new bonds with strangers. Some sought refuge from the city while others discovered previously crowded urban environments unladen. We became islands in seas of caution, self-preservation, and restraint. But no one is an island.
Emerging from this historic, global event, we know we have been changed. The places we live, the places where we work, the settings of communion with others have undergone change as well. We perceive and use natural and built environments in new ways, and our experiences with our brothers and sisters around the planet prompt questions about the role of architecture, art, design, our environment. We are drawn to the city for the ACSF 13 symposium, to one of the world’s greatest metropolises: New York. Here, we invite you to explore, speculate, and contemplate the present and future in a post-pandemic world.
How do places heal us spiritually? How do they bring us together and help forge connections? How does architecture free us from isolation, how does it provide refuge for spiritual renewal? The pandemic introduced the need to formulate new ways of social interaction with our fellow human beings. Meals were shared in new settings; spiritual relationships underwent transformation. What are the architectural and environmental implications of these new patterns of communion with others? What have we gained or lost through these new patterns, and will they last?
Our 13th Annual meeting will take place at Thomas Berry Place, a Passionist Retreat Center attached to their monastery in Jamaica, Queens, New York. Needless to say that New York is one of the most ethnically, culturally, spiritually, gastronomically, architecturally, and environmentally diverse places on the face of the Earth. We will partake of its environs with explorations of sacred landmark sites in and around the city. Despite this urban vibrancy, the Thomas Berry Place offers a private, contemplative, and beautiful setting conducive to sharing, considering, and speculating about the issues before us. All symposium events (save for exploration of New York environs) will take place here.
The cost of the Symposium will be as follows:
This symposium fee will cover the following:
Those who have submitted an abstract will be notified of their acceptance on or before March 15th after which you will have two weeks to confirm your participation and one more week to register on-line prior to the rooms becoming available to the remaining ACSF membership and public at large. Thomas Berry Place has 49 private bedrooms, 20 with Queen Sized beds and 29 with single beds. Couples will have precedence over individuals for booking the Queen bedrooms. If you are planning to attend the conference, to ensure a place on-site, you must register no later than April 5th, or preferably as soon as you receive your paper/workshop acceptance. All bookings will be available online through ACSF. Please do not contact Thomas Berry Place directly. Thank you for your cooperation.
The Thomas Berry Place is well served by public transportation andhighly accessible, a 5-minute walk from the Jamaica 179th Street stop on the city’s E and F subway lines. The venue is a short, 20-minute drive from either LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or JFK International Airport (JFK) — U$S 20-25 outside of rush hour. There is free parking for those arriving by car.
May/June is one of the best times to visit the New York City area. Early in June, afternoon high temperatures are very pleasant, averaging mostly in the low to mid-70sF (22-24C). Early morning lows will fall to the mid to upper 50sF (13-15C) while a couple of cooler mornings can see lows down into the upper 40sF to near 50F (9-10C).
To view this year’s program, please click here.
The following 6 lectures were selected among 32 paper or project presentations to receive the ACSF 13 Outstanding Presentation Award. The decision was made by the co-chairs of the symposium who attended all the presentations and based on a variety of criteria including scholarly/design contribution, clarity, insight, compelling arguments, beautiful craftsmanship, and more.
The order in which they appear below coincides with their place in the symposium program.
June 1, 2023 | MICHAEL J. CROSBIE
From Heavenly Garden to COVID Haven: The Rural Cemetery as Bucolic Refuge
June 1, 2023 | MARK PIERSON
“Tea and Bee”: Pop-up Built Environments for Curated Tea Rituals that Encourage Human Connection and Flourishing
June 2, 2023 | ALLEN PIERCE
After the Hand: The Growing Autonomy of Self-Expression in a Post-Craft World
June 2, 2023 | REZA ASSASI
Mithraic Influence on Early Christian Symbolism and Church Architecture
June 2, 2023 | KYLE DUGDALE
False Communion: Misappropriation of the Sacred
June 4, 2023 | JULIO BERMUDEZ & YOSHIO NAKAMURA
Can We Use Empirical Means to Understand Sacred Architecture? A Neurophenomenological Approach
|Michael J. Crosbie||From Heavenly Garden to COVID Haven: The Rural Cemetery as Bucolic Refuge|
|Samuel Holleran||Letters, Lines, and Lasers: Photo-Engraved Monuments, Memory, and Image Moderation|
|Annette Homann||Sanctuaries in Core and Conjunction|
|Isabel Potworowski||Sacred Space | Sacred Place: Pedagogical Reflections|
|Clive Knights||Community and the Potential of the Restorative Fragment|
|Sanda Iliescu||The Intertwining of the Sacred and the Secular|
|Jeff Dardozzi||Mapping Theodicy: Building Through COVID|
|Nesrine Mansour||Surreal Transcendence: Exploration of The Sacred and Profane through Artificial Intelligence|
|Anna Mette Exner||Connected|
|Anthony N. Monica||Transforming a University Covid Clinic into a Flexible Space for Cross-Disciplinary Communion & Spiritual Renewal|
|Lucca Townsend||Parkitecture: Sculpting spaces for shared experience within urban landscapes|
|Maria Bottiglieri||The “Right to Adequate food” as a Driver of Inter-cultural and inter-Religious Use of Public Space: The Experience of Turin Open-City Before and After the Pandemic|
|Mark Pierson||“Tea and Be”: Pop-Up Built Environments for Curated Tea Rituals that Encourage Human Connection and Flourishing|
|Miriam Gusevich||Communion, Community, and the Commons: Reflections on the Public Domain|
|Alison B. Snyder||Does the Urban Street Provide a Space for Spiritual Meandering?|
|Joshua Zinder||Leveraging Design and Architecture for Social Change Through Faith-Oriented Large-Scale Community Events|
|Jill Bambury||Preaching as Communion: The Power of the Sermon in the Black Churches of New Orleans|
|Pushpinder Walia||From Community Kitchen to Oxygen Langar… (Re)Discovering New Patterns of Communion in the Spiritual Legacy & Architecture of the Golden Temple|
|Allen Pierce||After the Hand: The Growing Autonomy of Self-Expression in a Post-Craft World|
|Andrea Longhi||Redundant religious heritage: from burdensome legacy to plentiful resource|
|Amita Sinha||Upasana Griha, Shantiniketan, India: A Spiritual Sanctuary|
|Reza Assasi||Mithraic Influence on Early Christian Symbolism and Church Architecture|
|Dennis Alan Winters||Meditations on the Spiritual Nature of Space|
|Kyle Dugdale||False Communion: Misappropriation of the Sacred|
|Elizabeth Danze||External Destruction And Internal Chaos To Psychological And Spiritual Redemption|
|William Green, Kim Grinfeder, and Denis Hector||Sacred Space in the Metaverse|
|Yoko Kawai||Missing Links in Designing Space for Mindfulness in Secular & Collective Settings: Time, Movements, Perceived Space, & Subject-Object Blurriness|
|Sarika Bajoria||Bringing Contemplative Design Tools for Flourishing to Practicing Designers and Design Students|
|John A. Ferri||Bridging the Connection|
|Stephane Gaulin-Brown||Vitruvius’ Spiritual Perception of Matter|
|Julio Bermudez and Yoshio Nakamura||Can We Use Empirical Means to Understand Sacred Architecture? A Neurophenomenological Approach|
|Julia W. Robinson||Community Engagement & the Design Studio: Communion by Doing|
|Sharon Prince||Hidden In Plain Sight: Architecture and the Scourage of Modern-Day Slavery|
|Suchi Reddy||Form Follows Feeling|
|Alberto Campo Baeza(2023 ACSF Outstanding Achievement Awardee)||On Surrender and Universality|
Here we are, most of the ACSF 13 symposium participants in Manhattan, in one great photo! For higher resolution, click on the picture.
For more, follow the links below.
Roberto Chiotti (Co-chair) — Larkin Architect Limited
Michael J. Crosbie (Co-chair) — University of Hartford
Jamie Ohls (committee member) — Modern Out West
Trent Smith (committee member) — Modern Out West
Julio Bermudez (Webmaster)— The Catholic University of America