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ASCF 14: Resonance of the Past, Spirit of the Future

June 5-9, 2024

"Architecture appears for the first time when the sunlight hits a wall. The sunlight did not know what it was before it hit a wall." Louis Kahn

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General Information

The Forum on Architecture, Spirituality, and Culture will host its 2024 annual international symposium in Istanbul, Turkey. With its blend of East and West, the city embodies the very themes we seek to explore: Resonance of the Past, Spirit of the Future: Exploring transcendent unity in a world of multiplicity. The symposium’s venue, surrounded by the architectural wonders of Istanbul, will serve as a living laboratory where theory and practice converge.

Our 14th Annual meeting will take place June 5-9, 2024, when we will gather at the Kalyon Hotel, where all symposium activities (save for exploration of Istanbul) will take place, including meals and lodging. Located in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, this hotel offers a peaceful retreat away from the bustling tourist crowds. Unlike the more touristy parts of Sultanahmet, this hotel allows guests to experience the authentic charm of the area. The convenient proximity to the iconic Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosque will allow us to embark on a spiritual journey through the heart of Istanbul, where the confluence of mystical thinking echoes across centuries. Small groups of 8 to 10 symposium participants will be guided by an expert, as they explore the tapestry of this ancient city’s history and culture.

Weatherwise, early June is pleasant in Istanbul. High temperatures are in the mid to upper 70sF (22-24C) that then fall to the lower 60s (15-17 C) during the night.

ACSF 14 will be structured around a main topic (“Resonance of the Past, Spirit of the Future”) but is also open to ideas, works, and proposals relevant to the Forum’s areas of interest. We will keep the number of attendees below 75 to maintain an intimate and dialogical atmosphere. As usual, ACSF strives to assemble a distinguished panel of keynote speakers whose work aligns with the theme of the symposium. This year, we are anticipating the participation of renowned Turkish architects and scholars who will articulate the central themes, bridging historical foundations with forward-looking ideas in exploring transcendence. The roster of speakers will be updated at a later date. Of course, as is in past symposia, the final evening will be dedicated to presenting the ACSF Outstanding Achievement Award followed by the recipient’s keynote address (something we won’t know until late March 2024).

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.


Resonance of the Past, Spirit of the Future: Exploring transcendent unity in a world of multiplicity

In an era where digital technologies are reshaping the very essence of architecture, the fusion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage with spirituality offers a rich tapestry of exploration. The proposed symposium seeks to delve into the captivating nexus between architecture, culture, and spirituality, with an emphasis on the transformative role of digital technologies in both education and practice. Set against the majestic backdrop of Istanbul, a city straddling the crossroads of civilizations, this symposium aims to unravel the profound interplay of tradition and innovation. 

Within the larger Symposium Theme, we see four lines of inquiry or discussion:
  1. Understanding Tradition through Technology: The symposium will explore how architects are employing digital tools to reinterpret historic architecture, learning from the past to envision new futures. As I.M Pei eloquently stated, “Architecture is the very mirror of life. You only have to cast your eyes on buildings to feel the presence of the past, the spirit of a place; they are the reflection of society”. Presentations will highlight projects that celebrate innovative practice or pedagogical strategies, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and the symbiotic relationship between technology and tradition.
  1. Cultural Confluence and Architectural Expression: Culture is a dynamic force that shapes architecture’s identity and creation. The symposium will focus on the convergence of diverse cultures, religions, and ethnicities, like the example of the ones witnessed in our location Istanbul. As Steven Hall observed, “Architecture is bound to the situation.” Attendees will delve into how cultural fusion inspires architectural form and function, with Constantinople’s legacy serving as an enduring testament to this phenomenon.
  1. Transcendent Unity and the Soul of Architecture: The spiritual dimension has always infused architecture with profound meaning. The symposium will illuminate the spiritual essence in architectural creation, drawing inspiration from different spiritual traditions like Sufism and Orthodox Christianity. Quoting Rumi, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you,” participants will discuss how architectural spaces can become conduits for spiritual experience independent of time.
  1. Phenomenological Ruins, Restoration, and Reuse: The symposium can analyze this theme with the neighboring Hagia Sophia being a potent symbol of sacred architecture’s adaptive reuse. Building on the concept that reuse is the most sustainable form of architecture even with the hurdles of adaptation and discovery, discussions will delve into the multifaceted history of building transformation, serving as a model for reimagining sacred spaces for contemporary needs.
Contributions and Insights
Participants will enrich the symposium with their research and expertise. By bridging the realms of academia, architectural practice, and spirituality, participants will gain valuable insights into the intricate interplay of architectural heritage, culture, and digital innovation.


Istanbul’s unique significance as a historical crossroads of civilizations makes it an ideal setting for this symposium. With its blend of East and West, the city embodies the very themes we seek to explore. The symposium’s venue, surrounded by the architectural wonders of Istanbul, will serve as a living laboratory where theory and practice converge

Our 14th Annual meeting will take place at the Kaylon Hotel that is located in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. This urban area offers a peaceful retreat away from the bustling tourist crowds. The hotel is located in a flat area perfect for leisurely strolls, while the Marmara Sea’s presence right at its doorstep provides a calming backdrop. Unlike the more touristy parts of Sultanahmet, this hotel allows guests to experience the authentic charm of the area. The convenient proximity to the iconic Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosque, just a 12-15 minute light walk away, ensures that we can explore these historic landmarks with ease during our stay.

The Kalyon Hotel has the best conference center in the area, and will easily accommodate our symposium activities. The spacious room has outstanding audiovisual support to ensure a seamless presentation experience. The conference center also offers breathtaking views of the Marmara Sea, flooding the space with natural light, creating an inspiring and invigorating atmosphere for ACSF14. 


The cost of the Symposium will be as follows:

  • Basic Room – City View (Can fit 2-3 People) @ $105/night x 5 nights (breakfast included): US$ 525
  • Symposium Fee: US$ 425

This symposium fee will cover the following:

  • All meals: from dinner on June 5th to dinner on June 9th, you will receive 3 buffet service hot meals a day; snacks, coffee & soft drinks during the breaks. Wine will be served at receptions and dinners.
  • Dinner Night Outside the Hotel.
  • Gratuities for Dining Staff.
  • Access to all symposium activities
  • The Sunday Sacred Sites Tours
Total cost per person (single occupancy): US$ 950

Total cost per person (couple): US$ 750


Regarding the hotel, please refer to “Location” above. This section has to do with having booking priority for the said accommodations. Those who have submitted an abstract will be notified of their acceptance by February 19th 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.  All bookings and registration will be available online through ACSF.  Please do not contact the hotel directly.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Accessibility & Travel

Multiple international airlines fly to/from Istanbul, Turkey. Prices vary depending on your place of origin and how early you purchase your tickets. At this time (early October 204), roundtrip prices from the East Coast of the U.S./Canada to Istanbul for early June are around $1,300, and from the West Coast of the U.S./Canada are about $1,800. Flying from Europe ranges from $200 to 300 (e.g., London, Berlin). Flights from Mumbai are around $650. The Kaylon Hotel provides shuttle transportation to and from the Istanbul airport at an additional cost. Alternatively, participants have the option of utilizing taxi services or other apps like Uber for their convenience.


Weatherwise, early June is pleasant in Istanbul. High temperatures are in the mid to upper 70sF (22-24C) and then fall to the lower 60s (15-17 C) during night time.


To view a draft of this year’s program, please click here.

Call for Submissions

We seek proposals for panels, projects, papers, and workshops, in order to foster a robust interdisciplinary dialogue among teachers, artists, scholars, designers, theoreticians, and all kinds of practitioners.

For ACSF14, we aim to cultivate a vibrant interdisciplinary dialogue among teachers, artists, scholars, designers, theoreticians, and practitioners. Topics of particular interest include: the interplay of tradition and technology, as architects harness digital means to reinterpret historic architecture; the confluence of cultures and their influence on architectural identity, especially as seen in the melting pot of Istanbul; the profound spiritual undertones in architectural design, inspired by traditions like Sufism and Orthodox Christianity; and finally, the nuances of architectural restoration and reuse emphasizing sustainable transformation and reimagining of sacred spaces. Join us in this exploration and contribute to shaping the architectural discourse for the future bridging tradition and innovation. For more on the theme, see “Resonance of the Past, Spirit of the Future: Exploring transcendent unity in a world of multiplicity.”


Submission Categories

Interested individuals are invited to submit proposals of 500 to 1,000 words for either the SYMPOSIUM TOPIC or an OPEN SESSION. Proposals may be submitted in one of three categories: paper, practice/research project, and/or workshop.

  • Paper: a traditional 500–1000-word paper abstract.
  • Project: three images + 250-500 words providing important background information and an indication of the project’s main ideas, intentions, purposes, theories, etc.
  • Workshop: a description up to 1000 words addressing the activity, rationale, main ideas, intentions, purposes, theories, and material and spatial requirements, etc.

Very important: Authors should indicate the category under which their proposal should be considered (paper, practice/research project, or workshop). A proposal should be treated like an expanded abstract and include a summary statement, topic, scope, method, case-study(ies) if appropriate, and intended conclusions/outcomes.

Individuals may submit up to two different proposal types (i.e., Paper and Project)Proposals should NOT reveal personal identity or institutional affiliation.


Review Process

The selection of proposals will follow a strict blind peer-review process with at least three ACSF scholars/professionals considering each submission. Their individual recommendations will be sent and reviewed by the ACSF 14 Symposium chairs who will make the final determination regarding accepting or rejecting a proposal. In the case of two different proposal types from one presenter that are of equally acceptable quality, the symposium co-chairs may consult with presenters in order to ensure the best possible symposium experience given the available schedule (i.e. we may elect to invite only one type of presentation). The Symposium chairs’ decision is final.

Note: Accepted presenters will be asked to revise proposals in response to reviewer feedback, to provide the proposal in a final format for publication. Proposals will be published on the symposium website prior to the meeting. Efforts may also be made to publish the accepted work in paper format at a later date.


Total Number of Works to be Accepted

Given the logistics of ACSF 14, we foresee accepting up to 30 proposals.


Selection Criteria

We will follow criteria of relevancy, argumentation, logic, quality, novelty, and relation to the ACSF 14 topic (or open session if stated). Proposals addressing historical, theoretical, professional, or other concerns that do not clearly respond to how culture and spirituality in particular relate to the built environment (see definitions in ACSF website) will be rejected.


Deadline: Proposals are due January 15, 2024

Interested authors should indicate intent to submit work. Questions may be addressed to:


Format & Place of Submission

All proposals should be sent as an attached file saved in word “Doc” format only. If images are embedded in the document, make sure your file total size does NOT exceed 5 MB. Clearly specify the category under which your proposal should be evaluated (workshop, project, or paper) and whether it follows the Symposium TOPIC (“Resonance of the past…”) or goes into the OPEN session.

Send your submission to the 2024 Symposium co-chairs at 

IMPORTANT: All references to the author must be removed from the submission in order to guarantee strict blind-peer review. The symposium chairs, upon receiving your submission, will provide a key number to identify the proposal.



Submission Deadline: January 15, 2024

Blind Peer Review Process: January 16 – February 12, 2024

Feedback to authors (acceptance/rejection): February 19, 2024

Deadline to confirm author participation: March 4, 2024

Room Reservation deadline for Authors (payment due): March 25, 2024 — Full information will be delivered along with February 19 feedback. (after this date, rooms will be open to non-author attendees)

Submission of revised proposal for online publication: April 22, 2024

Final symposium scheduling + e-publication available: May 24, 2024

ACSF14 Symposium starts: June 5, 2024, in Istanbul, Turkey

Organizing Committee

Nesrine Mansour (Co-chair) —South Dakota State University 
Trent Smith (Co-chair) —Modern Out West, PLLC
Hakan Ashaboglu (Committee Member) — Modern Out West
Julio Bermudez (Webmaster)— The Catholic University of America