As part of a larger institutional building, the challenge in designing Northeastern University’s Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service was to provide the specific requirements of 13 distinct religious faiths while simultaneously maintaining neutrality to not bias any specific orientation, faith, or iconography. The design provided a main hall that serves as a sacred space, and two antechambers that function as mediators and collector spaces for the various users. Located within an existing building with no natural light, the main hall is clad in glass, illuminated from behind to create ambience. Organized on an east-west axis, the space is capped with three suspended domes, making orientations possible. Given the climate of construction culture- less craft, budgetary constraints, and value engineering processes- this project found ways in which the mandatory features of the renovations (the HVAC system, the lighting, and acoustic baffles) became part of the symbolic attributes of the space. The domes’ surface is all perforated, bringing natural air into the space, while also housing the sprinkler system and focal lighting. These elements solved practical problems while also fulfilling the mission of a multi-faith space with a very limited budget.

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 6,200sf

Selected Awards:
Harleston Parker Medal
AIA IFRAA, Religious Art and Architecture Design Award
BSA Young Architects Design Award
I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review Award: Environments
International Association of Lighting Design Award of Merit
IES, International Illumination Design Award
BSA Unbuilt Architecture Award