Architecture Work: Gloria in the Wilderness
Home, some time before Christmas, I was attending church. For those that are less intimate in the knowledge of my life, I was raised and forever am a Christian. My parents were short term missionaries, primarily to Zambia (but also Bolivia and other projects) and they work in ministry full time now.
While sitting there listening to my father’s sermon, I was overcome with an image for a new prayer chapel. Not being an architect myself… because my parents dissuaded from going to Stanford to study it (California is too far and architects have to do too much before they can practice) — I knew I had to go full collaboration route.
I shared a little probe on Insta, and that led me to Brennan. An architecture graduate student at Columbia.
Process & Shared Language
Below are clips of my dm’s to him as we started to build a shared language.
Yesssss. Concept is essentially the nature of preparation & arrest during prayer
I find churches too often are designed to bring you into the cathedral too early
So what happens when we make a path to that experience. And how simple can we make it. I have a sketch of it in mind with the lighting as well.
Very much based on rounded forms and light as material.
Quakers have this idea of a meeting place where they wait to be moved by the light.
But in understanding the holy spirit we know that the movement is always there. So I want that to be obvious the minute you take in the primary space. The light is ever present
My sketch. To put into text. Is a loooooooong tube. Almost like an aquarium. With soft light. “Prepare thy soul”
Into a dome space. Limestone-y. 3/4ths up there some is a ring of stained glass. I believe this is the least utilized material on earth.
Then the entire top of the dome is actually an angled Turrell like light source that is aimed at the central prayer alter for the individual to rest at & come to God.
I have this bit of text I wrote where the premise is “the cathedral is only seen from within” basically
This is a large expression of that. From the outside. It looks like a long tube connected to a dome.
But from within. It should be fully spirit stirring.
not liking my general writing canvas lately so I'm going to give it all stream of consciousness here & now
on a form and function wave, when we are dealing in the spiritual -- the problem is incredibly straightforward and defined since the beginning of time
we are placed in a world not fit for our spirit. and that world works us over. our spiritual needs are our only needs. in recognizing this, we must find our spiritual equivalent of noise cancelling headphones.
this is what is at the center of the refocus on mediation. but prayer does more than meditation. meditation is the inward cycle. prayer is the upward cycle
this space is to orient the individual towards the upward cycle. in that we can release both the exterior beyond the walls of the space & release the interior of ourselves.
how can we prepare ourselves for this experience. the entrance needs to give us the time and space to shed the exterior from us. like walking around nyc, we constantly "wear our environment".
the entrance must allow us the shed our environment. so that we can enter the chapel prepared then, to shed our interior
like Moses in front of the burning bush, we must step clean footed. this is hallowed ground
imagine the floor pulsating with the spirit of the light that is above us.
once inside the chapel itself, the entrance should almost feel untraceable. like realizing you're in a dream, you're not full sure how you got there. there's a realignment of understanding where you are
then the light focuses.... as if sensing your need for direction. and doing the only thing you can do, you kneel. you rest. you surrender yourself in realizing that you're the only thing in this space, and you are incredibly small in the grand scheme of things.
you can sit there all day under this light. it's both the warmth of pausing in the sun, and the hair standing up on your neck. there is no exiting this experience, because it's the environment you always needed
that's what we are doing.
I was so excited for my first newsletter of the year to be around this project. I refused to write anything until it was done.
This contemplation and collaboration was an incredibly new extension of how I’ve been thinking about work lately. It probably exists in the space my friend Yatú would call “concept composing”. Really working through the forms of language and articulation to reach a shared embodiment.
I’ve been meditating on simplicity a lot. The good life feels like a simpler life. Where I’m rooted in nature more. Praying more. The communities around me are tangible. My media is rich but not draining.
The future of the future is the present.
— Marshall McLuhan
From all my notes I hope the intention is clear. I don’t care to elaborate too much on that.
I want to say my deepest thank you to Brennan. He is an absolute rockstar and I’m trying to scheme even more ways to work with him.
I’m excited to spend this year in collaboration a lot more.
I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.
Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.
Live in the light