Date of Submission

Spring 5-9-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Department

Architecture

Primary Advisor

Timothy Frank

Abstract

On March 15th, 2019 at 1:40 pm, Brenton Harrison Tarrant walked into Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand. Attached to his head, an iPhone set to livestream, and in his hand a loaded shotgun. Brenton then proceeded to gleefully murder 42 innocent Muslim worshippers. Soon after he fled to Linwood Mosque where he claimed 8 more victims. His actions demark New Zealand’s largest terrorist act in history. Brenton joins the long list of individuals who’s gross misunderstanding and hatred of a religion have escalated into violence. People like Brenton represent a larger issue that afflicts our modern society; the widespread vilification, hostility, and abandonment of organized religion and spirituality. This social condition and has bred stereotypes, and misconceptions about faith. Spirituality should be a value that unites people, not divides them. But what truly is Spirituality and Faith? It is a human’s attempt to reconcile with the big questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What does it all mean? It is a trait that defines our humanity. Spirituality is a thread that all humans can access. The controversy is found in the details and differences, that we cling onto. Our gods may not have the same face, but does that mean we can’t share in a spiritual experience? One that transcends the symbolism and specificity, allowing for a mutual appreciation of personal existence. This thesis will focus on developing a form of architecture that allows for a religious and spiritual mitigation space, in which all forms of faith can co-habitat, worship, and appreciate the practices of each other’s spirituality. I wanted to tackle the issue by placing the project site, in a place of high religious tension, the Old Walled City of Jerusalem. Jerusalem has become the physical manifestation of the problem at hand, literally being segregated into Jewish, Muslim, and Christian sections. In addition, the Israel / Palestine conflict, which has lasted over 100 years, takes forefront in the holy city. The project is placed strategically in a small neutral zone between the Israel and Palestine border, making the statement that this is a neutral and inclusive space. This inclusivity will be achieved by identifying and studying the archetypes and motifs that run through all forms of spiritual space. Shared narrative, phenomenology, tectonics, and ritual culminating into an experience that evokes a connectedness to the other, regardless of how you define your spirituality. The project will house spaces that address ubiquitous human experiences; life, death, reflection; which are derived from in depth comparative religious studies. These moments will be arranged into a promenade that take the human on a spiritual journey from secular to sacred; disconnected to enlightened. Resulting in a built form that sheds religious identity while embodying common human experience and struggles in this mortal world. The intention of this thesis is to positively affect the way people think about religion and faith in our modern society.

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