Architecture as Transition: Creating Sacred Space

A thesis submitted to the Division of Research and Advanced Studies of the University of Cincinnati in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

in the School of Architecture and Interior Design of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning


Michelle Lee McGahan
B.S. Arch., University of Cincinnati, 2002

Committee Chair: David Saile Nnamdi Elleh Anne Lund

Spirituality and sanctity are some of the most important qualities that can be expressed through architecture. These qualities and the spaces that express them also play a fundamental role in our existence. They are experienced across many lands and cultures and with many beliefs and practices. My argument maintains that these powerful experiences should not be limited to only a certain group of users, but rather should be open for all to experience. This type of architectural expression need not be limited to merely religious uses or members of a particular religious group but should extend beyond the limitations and rules of religion and embrace multitudes of people, beliefs, uses and qualities. This thesis explores the idea of sacred space and what it means in an urban context. It also questions how to create physical space that can be the gateway or transition to spiritual communication with another realm of being, that can allow healing and learning to take place, and that can provide an escape or retreat from the ordinary. The thesis project is an architectural exploration of designing spaces that search for these qualities of the sacred.


successes.Acknowledgements To all my family and friends who have guided and supported me through the past six years of challenges. . and this ultimate fulfillment of my life long dream.

Table of Contents Page Abstract Acknowledgements Table of Contents Image List Image Sources Introduction Foundation Retreat in the City Central Questions Spiritual Aspects of Space Connections History and Precedents Current Examples Program Goals and Objectives Inventory Site Introduction History Population Climate and Weather Site Analysis Description 49 41 43 46 48 30 33 ---01 03 05 08 11 13 16 21 23 26 .

Transportation Additional Site Features Site Plans Bibliography Endnotes

51 52 53 55 59

McGahan 1

Image List

Description 1) Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Independence, Missouri 2) Terrorist Attacks on World Trade Center 3) Man in Mosque 4) Riots of April 2001 5) World Peace Bell 6) Taj Mahal in Agra, India 7) Woman stressed out at work 8) Chapel of Thanksgiving in Dallas, Texas by Philip Johnson 9) La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain by Antonio Gaudi 10) The Pantheon in Rome, Italy 11) Red Mill Chapel in Waupaca, Wisconsin 12) US Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs, Colorado by SOM 13) Stonehenge 14) The Pyramids at Gizeh 15) St. Ignatius of Loyola 16) Buddhist woman meditating under Bodhi tree 17) East Mountain Retreat Center 18) Grailville 19) The Buddhist Society for Compassionate Wisdom courtyard

Page 06 08 09 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 27 28 29

McGahan 2 20) Massage Therapy 21) A woman meditating 22) Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle, Washington by Steven Holl Architects 23) Hand on Water Wall 24) International Friendship Park 25) Roebling Suspension Bridge 26) Union Terminal 27) My Site 28) Buildings along 4th Street across from site 30 31 38 39 42 44 45 49 50

14) Rockport: Element Inc. 15) http://www. 2000 (12).htm 16) Smith.cincinnati. 1997 (119). Holy Personal: Looking for Small Private Places of Worship. 1994 (162).html 6) Mann. A. 9) By author 10) By author 11) Chester. 4) http://www.. Sacred Architecture.ART_Other. New York: Harper Collins. 1993 (125). Judith.ukstockimages. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 2001 (133). West Sussex: Academy Editions. London: Cassell & Co. 7) http://www.. 2) http://www. 2000 (66). Sacred Architecture.. Edwin and Iona Spens.McGahan 3 Image Sources 1) Crosbie. Architecture for the Gods. 1993 (116). Church Builders. Huston. Paul. Laura.enquirer. The Sacred Place: The Ancient Origin of Holy and Mystical Sites.html 3) Smith. New York: Watson-Guptill. Huston. The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom peacebell.php?operation= preview&imageid=100GL0070 8) Heathcote. The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom .org/miscellaneous/history_of_the_ignatian_reteat. 12) A.T.T. Michael J.html 5) http://www. 13) Devereux. Rockport: Element Inc. 2000 (42). New York: Harper Collins. 19) 21) http://www. Michael J.html 20) 17) http://www. New York: Harper Collins. Architecture for the Gods. 23) http://www. 1994 (69).htm 24) By author 25) 2000 (166).rcn. New York: Watson-Guptill.McGahan 4 18) http://www.html 27) By author 28) By author .eastretreat.php 26) 22) Crosbie.

you seek to escape it once in a while. Hear the sounds of the cars rushing past. take your time and relax. Everything is moving. Here you can learn about new things. Your world becomes quiet and serene. It is a chaotic environment that doesn’t end at the door to the office or workplace. nothing is still. meanwhile the rest of the world goes on as always but your world changes. with a divine being. pedestrians are crossing.McGahan 5 Introduction Imagine a bustling city in midday just as most employees begin their lunch break. you are able to temporarily leave behind the city and enter into a new realm-a spiritual realm. a profane world surrounds you. hear the thoughts inside your mind. meet new people. Sit still or slowly walk about. What and where is this place? It is a spiritual retreat center and it is located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati-a sacred space surrounded by the profane city. It is here that you can connect with a side of yourself that the city does not allow. body and spirit into a renewed and healed state. hoping not to have to wait too long in line. It is here that you can communicate with yourself. and explore new aspects of yourself. Hear the silence of your meditation. cars are turning. Nerves are on edge. Talk with others without having to yell above the city noises. but how and where? Now. the horns beeping. the doors slamming. . imagine a peaceful and serene space amidst all this chaos of the city. In this place you can unite your mind. buses are leaving. with others. Voices can barely be heard over the noises of the city as people rush to get to their lunch destination. pressures push stresses to the limit.

and space to learn new things about the divine. These functions include providing a location within which people can escape the ordinary in order to communicate and connect with the divine. feelings. It is this connection that fascinates me and is where I find that architecture. Perhaps a special 1) Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Independence. and/or with others. or dark caves can be the locations of the sacred. in the form of sacred space. Despite a multitude of religions and belief systems. or it brings back a memory of a special person or time. Each individual may regard certain personal spaces. Each person experiences space differently. Elements in nature. their spiritual selves. as sacred. for a person of faith. and/or others. Shrines.McGahan 6 Religion and spirituality are important elements of people’s lives throughout the world. themselves. no matter what that faith may be or what religion they may be a part of (if any). such as mountain peaks. and values. Missouri event occurred in that place. However. temples. spirituality plays a fundamental role in our lives. mosques. Many would argue that this other worldly connection between the human and the divine is among the most powerful communications possible. bodies of water. dependent upon factors such as. churches. sacred space serves a profound set of functions in their lives. memories. . which have their own cultural and regional qualities. Other functions could be to provide a place for healing. backgrounds. such as a particular room in their home or a park in their town. synagogues. and other built structures may be sacred to specific communities. plays a vital role in the realm of our religious and spiritual worlds.

and the spiritual to connect. I propose that architecture uses these qualities and elements as the fuel for transporting a person of faith from the human realm to the divine realm and allows them to make a connection between the two. It provides a space for the physical. “’…architects don’t invent anything. The Portuguese Architect Alvaro Siza said. a spiritual reality. The sacred space is a break or transition between the profane world of the non-sacred and the world of the divine. human.1 . Sacred space creates an environment where one can escape the ordinary world and enter into spiritual consciousness. they transform reality…. in Kenneth Frampton’s Studies of a Tectonic Culture. Sacred space serves as a sort of pathway from one to the other allowing this spiritual connection to take place. ‘“ which pinpoints my desire to explore how the architecture of a sacred space transforms those who experience it into another reality.McGahan 7 Despite these many differences. there exists an underlying ability of each of these spaces to serve as a transition and gateway between the human realm and the divine realm.

what religion (if any) we belong to. instead of uniting us and making us a stronger whole. we still shun what we do not know and what is different. I began to think more and more about religion and spirituality and how these elements in our lives can have such a deep and profound impact on such a great number of people regardless of where we live. my increasing interest in this subject. In an effort to open my mind and to learn more about my own spirituality. or what we believe. but 2) Terrorist Attacks on World Trade Center . It seemed that the whole nation was asking questions with little or no idea of where to get answers. Through this contemplation I realized just how little I knew about religions other than my own. Americans were suddenly afraid of Muslims.McGahan 8 Foundation Following the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11th. 2001. in a world that seems so advanced in every way. We allow these differences to separate and weaken us. After many of these classes. Their ignorance of that which was different from their own lives was a part of what kept the fear in their minds and hearts. I decided that I wanted my thesis topic to pertain to this subject in some way. yet they didn’t know why or if they should be. We go to our sacred places to learn about our own religions and spirituality. In addition to realizing my own lack of knowledge. and the importance spirituality plays in my own life. We see people from other cultures and backgrounds around us. I started to take classes about various world religions and religious thought. I also realized many other people share my concern and know little or nothing about religious beliefs beyond their own. Years after the attacks. but rarely do we learn about others.

I came to the conclusion that I wanted to create a sacred space that would provide a setting for all of these activities (and more) to occur. by learning more about others? I began to dig deeper into why I felt that sacred spaces are so affecting and powerful to me as an individual and to other persons.McGahan 9 do not interact with them. “The sacred place becomes the point at which the wondrous power of the divine could be seen breaking 3) Man in Mosque into the world’s alleged ordinariness. Dr. Belden Lane. and bring me to a closer connection with my own Deity. but do not have or take the opportunity to come into contact with them.”2 A person can use this sacred space as a gateway or pathway along their spiritual journey to reach and encounter the divine that they are seeking. there exist these sacred spaces where one can escape the chaos of the ordinary and enter into the extraordinary. Finally. where could someone go to learn about other belief systems if they didn’t have access to college courses like I did? Is there a place that exists where I could meet someone of another faith and discuss our differences and similarities? Could a meeting like this deepen my own spirituality. Not only a sacred space that allows for an individual or group to connect with the divine. a professor of theology. but also for individuals and groups to connect with each other and discuss their spiritual lives. We know that other beliefs exist. said. As a . After more reading and research I realized that the idea of sacred space allowing a person to transcend the human realm and allowing communication with the divine was one major reason why these spaces are so powerful. Within the everyday world. I began to ask myself.

McGahan 10 result. . they could learn more not only about other people and faiths that differ from their own. but they could also learn more about themselves.

Race relations have been on shaky ground for years. since the horrible terrorist attacks on our nation on September 11th of 2001. terrorism alerts continue to occur. jobs are few and far between and those who have one are in fear of losing it. These erupted after years of pent up frustrations over these issues in the city. a survey done by ComPysch5 showed that Cincinnati employees are suffering from high levels of stress. feelings and thoughts. Stress is not the only thing that plagues local residents of this area. 38% of employees reported “constant but manageable stress levels.”7 Clearly this shows a strong need for local employees to find ways to de-stress and get control of their lives. the economy is anything but stable.4 In an article called “Take a break to combat work stress” by Bob Nelson in the Business Courier.McGahan 11 Retreat in the City Over a million Americans spend time at some sort of retreat center each year. the largest example being the riots the city experienced in April of 2001.000 . including the diversity of residents in Cincinnati.”6 In the same survey.3 Americans. 48% of employees reported “high levels of stress coupled with extreme fatigue and a sense of feeling out of control. All of these issues contribute to the need for the people of the Cincinnati area to have a place to retreat to find themselves and to meet others (like a spiritual retreat center). are stressed out. 4) Riots of April 2001 Also. including those in the Cincinnati area. Placing such a program within the city allows for easy access by some 80. In the survey. There is an ongoing war in Iraq. religious and cultural differences have been an issue among all of us.

There is also an abundance of new additions to the city in recent years that seem to be supportive of my ideas and wishes to create sacred space. but also because I have lived in a suburb of the city my entire life and know this city better than any other. serve a variety of spiritual and cultural needs. residents in Kentucky from Covington and Newport. like the number of 5) World Peace Bell parks in the downtown area and religious institutions that are spread throughout the city. the International Friendship Park that runs along the Ohio River on the east side of downtown. and people from both the west and east sides of the city. Such similar additions to the city include the World Peace Bell which resides in Newport. Of course. and the Underground Railroad Freedom Center which is still in progress on the riverfront. I chose Cincinnati not only for these reasons. to unite a diversity of people. there are probably many cities that have similar issues and that are feeling the effects of these national issues as well. However. It would also be accessible to those outside the downtown area including the diversity of people at the University of Cincinnati. . and to generate a sense of peace. Kentucky just across the river.McGahan 12 employees that work in the downtown area8. Also the already existing spaces.

The next crucial question that I must answer is what exactly is a sacred space? In terms of religion. how can a space accommodate more than one idea of spirituality? The question becomes. I must figure out how architecture plays a role in the differences and how much of it has to do with the rituals and 6) Taj Mahal in Agra. spiritual beliefs and religions together for retreat. India practices that occur within it. Cultural and regional variations in one major religion also may create significant differences. Rituals and practices vary greatly from one religion to the next. and interaction. I need to determine what elements of a sacred space for one religion differ from another. worship. prayer. Certain things that are meaningful in one faith may be regarded as insulting or degrading to another. When there are so many differences. Determining what (if any) fundamental elements occur repeatedly will help me to explore what kind of space I need to design in order to meet the needs of so many different people. an obvious challenge arises. this is a complex question when you consider that each major group has their own elements and details. then. how do you make an architecturally stimulating sacred space and speak to many different communities of beliefs at the same time? First of all. regardless of .McGahan 13 Central Questions When speaking of bringing people of multiple faiths. which they believe contribute to the sanctity of their worship space. I believe that all these sacred spaces. However.

A sacred space provides a sanctuary for their prayers and thoughts as well as a physical sanctuary for their bodies during this worship. And for those 7) Woman stressed out at work . although I have come up with a few that I feel are important). it is our duty as architects to understand how and why these spaces are important and how design can meet the needs of those who seek relief in this way. the need for a place of refuge and escape from this profane and stressful world are ever increasing. but for those that do.McGahan 14 religious denomination. theoretically and physically by looking at various texts and designed and built works. So. which allow for the connection between the worshipper and the divine.) Why is it important to have sacred spaces? (I think that the answers to this question are endless. How or what about the sacred space allows for this communication to occur? I plan to explore this question thoroughly in my design in order to understand what it is about these spaces that provides for this unique and important event to take place. the everyday world that surrounds them at all other times. What makes a ‘designated’ sacred space any different or better than a room in one’s house or one’s office at work? A sacred space allows a person to completely escape the chaos of the profane world. It is known that stress levels among Americans are high and that many other health ailments are linked to this stress factor in our lives. Not everyone seeks out a spiritual means for stress relief. intrinsic qualities. How does the sacred space do this? I have explored this historically. Our lives are continually getting more complex and more stressful each day. (This exploration can be found in the sections titled “History and Precedents” and “Current Examples”. have some common.

Meditation. learning new things.McGahan 15 who do come to sacred spaces for this escape or for the guidance or prayer. Meeting new people. body and spirit could also be considered sacred spaces. Connecting with nature. having a space that allows for this divine communication is an essential part of their lives. Spaces that provide healing to the mind. all these things can contribute to the deepening of one’s spirituality. However. Designing a space that evokes an atmosphere of peace and serenity where a person could simply sit and read and relax could be enough of an escape for some. An escape from the profane world can be sought in many other ways that could still be considered ‘spiritual’ and ‘sacred’. having a space and time to think and relax. is a commonly used medium for transporting mind. the outdoors and sunlight or warm breezes could provide an escape from the ordinary for others. . sacred spaces do not always have to include elements of religion or prayer. Massage therapy or spa treatments could begin with a healing of the body and then gradually resonate throughout one’s mind and spirit. for example. body and spirit into a new realm.

11 If profane space is homogenous. In The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. stable point where they can find themselves and be found by others. the sacred space then becomes a vehicle or passageway from one to the other. It represents a place of calm and understanding within the chaos of the profane world. above all. of course. Texas by Philip Johnson space. reveals to the believer an ordered.15 Between these two worlds lies the sacred 8) Chapel of Thanksgiving in Dallas. Profane space is described as being homogenous. real. then it is impossible to orient oneself within it or to find a point of reference from which to find your way. are very important in my approach to . and figure out where they are and where they are going. worlds together. I think these ideas of ‘threshold’. the human world and the divine. sacred space being a break from this sameness.”9 In Patterns of Comparative Religion. and passage or gateway. transition. within the midst of this homogenous world.12 A sacred space. he says that “sacredness is. therefore. otherwise separate. The sacred space. he describes the sacred as something beyond human description.13 It is the center from which people can orient themselves. beyond our own worlds and something “saturated with being. which is the link that brings these two. So. find themselves.McGahan 16 Spiritual Aspects of Space One of the most influential writers I have come across in my research is Mircea Eliade. Similarly. is that point of reference.14 This. sacred space is seen as the ‘threshold’ or transition space between the two worlds.”10 By this I think he is describing the power of the sacred to make tangible to a person what is normally unreachable. is not necessarily meant in a physical way but rather in a spiritual way.

but also where these occur spiritually. can be linked symbolically Diagram 1 9) La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. upwardly . are all associated with vertical images.18 All of these represent this vertical connection among the three worlds in the cosmos: Underworld.McGahan 17 design.”16 This idea of transition is important not only within the sacred space and the human and divine realms but also between the overall sacred and profane regions. of course. Deities. then. the eternal. The space is used as a sort of vehicle for this transcendence beyond our physical environment “…toward the sacred center and the center of one’s own being. and Sky. Earth. can be considered “axis-mundi” because they provide this passage among worlds. I must design spaces where not only communication and movement occur physically. Verticality.19 They are seen as sacred axes that unite the worlds and that allow passage among them. the “cosmic pillar”. the infinite.20 Sacred spaces. Spain by Antonio Gaudi with many other spiritual meanings. and the “cosmic mountain”. Heaven in Judeo-Christian beliefs is associated with the vertical.17 Eliade also talks about the ideas of the “axis-mundi”. Eliade states that a transition must occur between these regions both to make the person aware of the upcoming change in spatial meaning and to prepare them mentally and spiritually prior to entering the sacred place.

which all have various sacred connections and meanings.21 As a result. human to beyond human. Italy. it exists both on Earth and at the same time it also transcends Earth and the human realm.24 Nature. the essence of plant life. death to rebirth/new life. he states that generally.28 He says all three of these elements must be present to create our . sun. and plants.26 For example.23 Sacredness is revealed through many manifestations. and of others around us. and another. one of which is nature. stones. Italy world.25 Eliade also describes the many elements of nature such as the sky. is the source of all possible existence. such as the oculus in the Pantheon in Rome. a part of the Earth 10) The Pantheon in Rome.”27 In Landscapes of the Soul: A Spirituality of Place. the Earth. For example.McGahan 18 regions. moon.22 He also discusses other “modes of passage” such as movement from darkness to light. Hamma talks about spirituality and how that connects with your physical surroundings. a break will sometimes occur in the roof of a sacred place to symbolize an intersection of two worlds and to show this vertical axis. life to death. ourselves. he suggests that water (which plays a role in my program and design) “…symbolizes the whole of potentiality. Robert M. etc. Ascending to a higher place in most contexts can be associated with positive change and advancement. Spirituality is defined as an awareness of our relationship to our deity(s). the elixir of immortality. this element will likely play a role in my design as well. is then considered sacred and like sacred space. water. ensures long life and creative energy and is the principle of all healing. In Eliade’s Patterns in Comparative Religion. every ascent is an escape from the profane and human status to a more sacred level.

He gives an example from Celtic traditions where they call their sacred places “thin places. Another important point brought up by Hamma to consider in my design is the change from day to night and how very different the same space can be during these times. according to Hamma.31 Since you cannot experience the divine in the flesh. A combination of both individual and group spaces will allow all aspects of the spiritual self to be accessed.32 A sacred place. Wisconsin example gives a strong analogy to what I think every sacred space does.”33 It is a place where the intangible becomes tangible. is one “where we are brought to the edge of our lives. you must do so in what he calls “mediated experiences” which require this space or “mediator” that helps you encounter these experiences. one of the most important results that could come out of the spaces that I design are summed up in a powerful quote that Hamma uses from the Bible. Hamma describes places as being “mediators” between the divine and the human. with powers beyond our control.McGahan 19 spirituality. The .30 The space is the physical mediator that separates you and the divine but yet also connects you to the divine at the same time. and that is to bring a person closer to the divine.36 Finally. These spaces are not literally “thin” but rather they provide a space where the barrier between the human and divine is lessened.35 This 11) Red Mill Chapel in Waupaca.”34 It is in these “thin places” where the distance between the divine and the human is narrowed. a place that brings us into contact with transcendent values.29 I think this is very important as far as the spaces and those who will experience the spaces are concerned in my design.

we go to our sacred places and communicate with our deity.McGahan 20 words were said by St. Colorado by SOM . 12) US Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs.”37 In other words. with our unveiled faces. and share it with others that we meet. and then we take with us what we have experienced and learned there. reflecting like mirrors the glory of the Lord. “we. and we spread that to those around us. Paul in 2 Cor 3:18. all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned in the image that we reflect. We encounter the divine and the peace and the calm.

“…a place set apart”. Eliade. like a special park where a significant moment in one’s life occurred. describes ‘sacred’ as being “wholly other”39 and a break within the homogeneity of the everyday profane world. Everest. Mt.38 My personal meanings for this word also include the ideas of communication with a deity. a place to heal and be healed. There may also be sacred spaces that aren’t so obvious to 13) Stonehenge others. History has provided us with many sacred structures like Stonehenge and the many beautiful sacred spaces of a variety of religions all over the world. or a room in the house that one seeks for spiritual refuge. ordinary world. A sacred space can . “…not profane or common”. A sacred space could also be a hospital or therapist’s office where healing of the body or mind can take place. “reserved for the exclusive use of something”. A few of the many descriptions of this word’s meaning from an internet dictionary include such definitions as “dedicated to or set apart for the worship of a deity”. a place to escape the profane.41 Revered sacred spaces around the world include natural wonders like the Grand Canyon.McGahan 21 Connections How is a spiritual retreat center a sacred space? First let me address what a ‘sacred space’ means in terms of my personal definition and other more agreed upon definitions. and a place to connect with both the spiritual and divine realm and with your own person as well as others. or the Nile River.40 He also says it is a space for communication between deity and human.

(A more detailed explanation of these sacred elements and activities that will occur within the spiritual retreat center can be found at the end of the section titled “Program: Inventory”. or some combination of these other elements to make the spiritual retreat center a sacred place for them.) 14) The Pyramids at Gizeh . as well as with or without the association of a religious tradition. If some or all of these elements and activities that we use to define ‘sacred space’ occur in the spiritual retreat center. then we have a sacred space that exists there. This could occur for a person by communicating with the divine.McGahan 22 exist in these varying scales and locations. participating in some kind of healing experience. but it will have the elements that will allow it to be sacred to those who experience it in these ways. It may not be considered sacred to everyone.

he decided to leave behind his current life and travel in search of God.45 As read in the Bible and other religious sources. Ignatius of Loyola is given credit as the ‘father’ of the retreat within the Catholic faith at around the end of the 15th century. Ignatius began 30-day ‘Spiritual Exercises’ where he and his men would preach the Gospels and lead the ‘exercises’. and each religion has their own unique history of how retreats came about. Ignatius of Loyola together a group of men known as “The Company of Jesus” (or the Jesuits). Monks continue to retreat within the monasteries to practice their devotion to the faith. St. ascetics of both Judaism and Christianity had to leave behind their worldly lives and possessions in order to fully . he began reading some literature on God and the Christian faith. Inspired by these writings. St. Along his journey he wrote “Spiritual Exercises” which. Much later in history the practice of ‘retreat’ was extended by the Church to include its parishioners as well. In Christianity.McGahan 23 History & Precedents Retreats have been part of cultural and religious roots since time immemorial. Often this includes long periods of silence and contemplation.44 Over time these ‘retreats’ became very popular and later were included as a custom for the Catholic clergy.43 After gathering 15) St. discussed the following of God and preached the Gospels “through meditation and examination”. Retreats became very popular in the United States around the 1970’s in other Christian religious groups and it is now a part of many denominations.42 After being bed-ridden from a battle injury. Buddhism and Christianity are probably the most widely known religions that participate regularly in retreats of some kind.

48 Tibetan and other forms of Buddhist retreats sometimes include other forms of spiritual growth such as scholarly research of Buddhism. It is meant as an experience to bring together a diversity of Muslims and promote learning among each other. This represents a kind of retreat.47 16) Buddhist woman meditating under Bodhi tree Although the main focus of Zen Buddhism is this meditation. which include physical.51 Similar to the story of Jesus in the Christian faith.49 In Hinduism. There are other spiritual retreats within Islam and each different sect . In Buddhism.53 It is also a physical retreat from their homeland to a place rich with sacred meaning.52 A pilgrimage to Mecca. are meant to unite the believer with the deity or deities. the retreats often include periods of community work as well to bring spiritual awareness to both the individual and others. one that is a more permanent and continuous journey. Islam tells of Muhammad also retreating into the desert for contemplation and spiritual growth. Buddha himself would spend nine months of the year teaching and then take three months to retreat.50 Many Hindus seek an escape from worldly luxuries in order to diminish the boundaries that separate them from the divine spirits. practices like yoga. and classes in yoga. studies of the Tibetan language. mental and spiritual exercises. Most of the other major world religions have elements within them that relate to retreats but are given different names or terms.46 Zen Buddhism is also known for its intense meditation training in the monasteries. has elements of ‘retreat’ for Muslims as well. the Islamic holy land.McGahan 24 find and follow God. the idea of ‘retreat’ has always been an integral part of the faith and practice.

and the multitude of other spiritual belief systems that exist today. silence.54 Spiritual retreat in Judaism often emphasizes solitude.McGahan 25 of this religion has alternative ways to reach spiritual awareness. most retreats within each of these include many similar elements. meditation. Despite the various world religions. like educational services and community-based events. and sometimes service and community work. Some sects emphasize meditation and solitude. . Most involve the opportunity for both individual and group retreat and many have other means of spiritual growth besides just mediation. the many sects within those religions. others practice sacred song and dance. I plan to include these varying elements into my program as well to further reflect and welcome a diversity of visitors.

“The religious retreat as a form of vacation. there are about two hundred and seventy interfaith retreat centers in the United States. the activities and programs obviously are much more focused on religion rather than a general sense of ‘retreat’ or spiritual connection. about one hundred and fifty Protestant. Buddhist retreats differ somewhat from some others since the religion itself is so different. Many were about educating guests about their own entitled. a dozen or so Jewish. Islamic. accept and welcome visitors of any and all faiths. but are merely affiliated with or led by a particular one. Some also had incorporated with the center or were fully designed to provide a ‘camp’ for children of that faith. Buddhism doesn’t focus on texts so much as it does on the practice of the teachings of Buddha. while a few were about educating guests of other religions or cultures about the center’s religion.” there are a number of retreats of various religious affiliations all over the United States and Canada. most centered around teaching and reflection of their religion and religious texts. and also new sproutings of various retreats for those of the Islamic. a few Quaker. and that provide activities and programs for more than just one group of people. the retreats aren’t so much about learning about the . Interfaith retreats are ones that are open to people of all faiths and religions. Buddhist and Hindu faiths. and Hindu faiths. in fact. Therefore.57 Of the few retreat centers that I was able to find online for people of Jewish. According to one website.55 There are approximately five hundred Catholic. which is the kind of retreat that my program falls within.56 Not included in this study are interfaith retreat centers.McGahan 26 Current Examples According to a recent article on MSNBC. Since these types of retreats are rooted in one particular religion. Some of the retreats mentioned above may.

These include the need for the guest to remove themselves from their daily routine in order to reconnect with the divine. located in Taylorsville. Some interfaith retreat centers focus more on the individual retreat as opposed to a group retreat.60 This retreat center has what they call a “Reflection Room” where many people can interact and share their retreats and also a library nearby for reading. writing. the religious elements can be included in one’s activities at the retreat or they can be left out completely.58 They also promote “interfaith understanding” which I intend for my program 17) East Mountain Retreat Center to promote as well. I chose to look at a few centers in the United States that have similar ideas and discuss their programs and facilities. Many of their goals listed on their website sound similar to my own goals for my program. . is an interfaith retreat house called Covenant Farm.59 Closer to Cincinnati. Since my program is an interfaith spiritual retreat center. many of these have a variety of programs that may include elements from a multitude of different religions or of no religious content at all. This center is located in a mountainous setting and provides both the spaces for individual spiritual retreat as well as guidance for those who seek it. such as the East Mountain Retreat Center in Massachusetts. Many interfaith retreat centers seem to be less constrained by religious elements and therefore visitors are more free to use the retreat not just in religious terms but also in other ways that they are seeking. Kentucky.McGahan 27 religion as they are in having a space and time to practice the teachings and experience them. etc. So. For instance.

This particular retreat happens to be a Christian retreat.62 This organization is also non-profit which further demonstrates their desires to bring people together and promote peace. since my program will be in an urban setting. I also looked at various urban retreat centers.63 Grailville is now an interfaith retreat center open to men and women as well as people of all faiths. Their mission is “to promote peace through inter-religious and multi-cultural events. All of the ones I have mentioned so far are located in rural settings that provide an abundance of space for these elements to occur. Most of these focus on the ideas that many people in the city do not have the time and/or money to go to a retreat far away. but it is helpful to look at it due to its location. However.McGahan 28 Located within New Hampshire’s White Mountains. it also has a chapel and labyrinth as well as a gift shop/art store. Besides its educational programs and workshops. This center facilitates both individual retreats as well as group retreats.”61 Both educational and recreational facilities are incorporated at this retreat center. In a suburb of Cincinnati there is a spiritual retreat center that began as a women’s movement in the Netherlands in the 1920’s. In Richmond. Many of its programs and events focus on community in addition to the 18) Grailville .64 All of these retreats include a distinct and important connection with nature and the outdoors whether it is merely by expansive views out to the surrounding scenery or by including outdoor activities within the rest of their programs. so one in an urban setting is much more practical and readily available for urban participants. is an interfaith. spiritual retreat center called the World Fellowship Center. Virginia there is an urban retreat center called Richmond Hill.

Another urban retreat center I found is called the Buddhist Society for Compassionate Wisdom. there is a nice. W. I won’t need to incorporate lodging into my program.65 Their goals include bringing various community members together to discuss and work towards enhancing the metropolis of Richmond. temple room for services. especially when the center is placed in an urban context like this one. out-of-the-way places. small outdoor courtyard area that has some gardens and an 19) B. I will need to incorporate the important elements of nature and the outdoors into my program and within this urban environment. C. Since my program is located in the urban context of Cincinnati and will be accommodating participants who are not necessarily looking for a long stay.67 It includes many similar elements to interfaith retreats and allows for a diversity of visitors due to its location. S. since they are located in very rural. However.66 I feel that this community element is very important. The capacity for these centers can range anywhere from around a dozen or so up to a hundred. This issue is an important goal for me. (and even some urban ones) have overnight lodging and also kitchen and dining spaces. Existing in the heart of the city makes it all the more important that the center make efforts to bring community members together to give back to the city and enhance it. as my program will need similar outdoor spaces within the urban context of Cincinnati. This Buddhist retreat center is located in the heart of Chicago. courtyard eating area. Illinois and is directly accessible by nearby public transportation. .68 Such a space allows for a bit of nature and the outdoors to come into this very urban setting. Most retreat centers.McGahan 29 more religious and spiritual aspects of retreat. Besides a bookstore. and kitchen.

So. the spiritual retreat center can also provide workshop spaces for other educational programs like learning a foreign language or learning about the various world religions. This is also in response to most people not feeling welcome or comfortable visiting a sacred space that is linked with a particular religion that is different from their own. These spaces can also be used for such things as community meetings or places to teach other activities that occur in the retreat center. In addition to learning and expanding one’s mind to other people and other ways of living.McGahan 30 Program Goals and Objectives: This program will also allow me to pursue other thesis goals that other types of sacred spaces may not allow. by having the spiritual retreat center be an interfaith organization. such as teaching how to meditate. cultures. and will provide the opportunities to both meet a diversity of people who are different than yourself and also to learn about other religions. etc. These programs and meetings can allow for this interaction among different people as well. In my research so far. it will be open to all those who desire to use it. This is partly in response to the many issues previously discussed concerning the city of Cincinnati and my desire to unite and connect people who may not otherwise have sufficient means. Providing a space for healing is also one of my objectives in this program. The first is my desire to have the program be open to all people. etc. I have found that most places that provide a sort of healing for your body often times do not also provide a healing for 20) Massage Therapy .

Providing an escape or retreat for a person or group of people is a central goal of mine in this program. etc. However. Simply having a quiet space to sit down and read a book or write. most of them offer dual or triple effects-healing not just one but two or all three-mind. In my program I hope to provide healing of the body. mind and the spirit. or a comfortable place to lounge for a while may be all that is needed to renew one’s mind. body and spirit. By this I mean simple rest and relaxation can provide a great deal of healing to those who need retreat. prayer and communication with the divine. or couples. Creating an atmosphere where time can even stand still for a moment. families. The spiritual healing will consist of things already discussed like spaces for worship. In addition to speaking of these activities individually. Allowing for the fast pace of the city and of a person’s work or life in general to come to a more manageable and slower pace is vital to this retreat. acupuncture. body and spirit. stress- filled world of the city and participate in the activities that create this spiritual.McGahan 31 the mind or spirit and vice versa. Healing can also occur by the lack of activities that one participates in. which might include massage therapy. I think that this will allow for a richer. . pressure-filled. and where time is not quite as 21) A woman meditating demanding or important for a small period. a sauna. sacred realm. I wish to not only provide spaces for both individuals and groups. Healing for the mind can be accomplished in a variety of ways. but also allow some interaction-visual or physical-between the two. whereas some of the more educational or interactive spaces would be more suited for groups. Most of these kinds of spaces are more for individual use. The body can be healed in various ways. from activities like meditation or in services like counseling and therapy-for individuals. It should be a place where a person can leave behind the ordinary.

However. Lastly. which require the guest to stay a longer period of time-be it a few days to a week or more. an individual using one particular space can see or interact with a group of people using another space. for instance. I hope to maintain a connection to the urban context while still allowing a ‘retreat’ in all aspects and allowing a connection with nature not normally found within the city. My goal is. which seems to be much more accommodating to those participants that I expect to welcome in this urban context. most retreat centers are located away from the city and in very rural areas.McGahan 32 deeper experience by all if. a few hours. since my site is located in an urban context.) . this goal is met with some challenges. or the entire day. to have a more flexible retreat center that allows a person to come for an hour. (So. So the challenge will be to allow an escape from the urban chaos but yet not totally isolate the spaces from their surroundings. however. my program provides an alternative to the usual spiritual retreat center in multiple ways. I also wish to have both interior and exterior spaces so that nature can be included in the spiritual experience of the user.

) -storage space in each communal room for various religious services (two @ 50 ea.McGahan 33 Inventory: The following is a list of spaces and an estimation of the square footages that each space might require. ft. ft.800 sq. ft. These estimations are based off of the research and precedents that I have looked at and discussed earlier in the document (See “History and Precedents” and “Current Examples”). 2.) -for workshops/educational courses/etc. ft. 200 sq. 600 sq. 30 sq.) E) Miscellaneous spaces (twelve @ 50 ea. ft. -storage for each room (three @ 25 ea.) B) Worship spaces -individual spaces (eight @ 100 ea. -storage/backstage area (one @ 200 ea.) C) Multi-purpose rooms (three @ 800 ea.) -communal spaces (two @ 300 ea. 100 sq. -Interior Spaces: A) Reception area/desk and waiting room and area for pre-activity discussions -coat closet (one @ 30 ea. 800 sq. 800 sq. ft. 75 sq. ft. .) D) Auditorium (one @ 2800 ea. ft. ft.) -seating for up to 100 people with small stage for guest speakers/seminars/lectures/ community meetings/etc. 600 sq. ft.400 sq. 2.) -various rooms and niches throughout the building for individual meditation/reading/ writing/etc.

200 sq.McGahan 34 F) Gathering spaces -small group spaces (three @ 200 ea. ft. 700 sq.) M) Kitchenette (one @ 150 ea.) K) Counseling offices/rooms (two @ 250 ea. .) -closet for towels/etc. ft. (five @ 20 ea. 100 sq.) G) Café (one @ 600 ea. preparation area.) -female guest bathroom to accommodate two people (two @ 100 ea.) -serving gathering spaces with beverages and snacks -would include regular and cold storage rooms. 60 sq.) J) Sauna/Spa (one @ 250 ea. 40 sq. ft. ft. 450 sq. ft.) L) Staff offices (three @ 150 ea.) -storage closets (three @ 20 ea. 100 sq. 250 sq.) -for massage therapy/acupuncture/ guided meditation/etc. and a serving area H) Specialty rooms (five @ 250 ea. ft.) 100 sq. 500 sq.) -for all staff -includes kitchen area and table/ eating area N) Bathrooms -female staff bathroom to accommodate two people (one @ 100 ea. -storage for equipment/towels/ lotions/etc. kitchen area. ft. 600 sq. 1. ft. ft. 20 sq. (one @ 20ea. ft. ft.) -large group spaces (two @ 350 ea. ft.250 sq. ft.) -male staff bathroom to accommodate two people (one @ 100 ea. 150 sq. ft.) -storage closets (two @ 20 ea. ft. 600 sq.

Q) Mechanical/Utility spaces (15% of interior spaces total) -15% of 14. ft. ft. ft. = 22.McGahan 35 -male guest bathroom to accommodate two people (two @ 100 ea. ft. ft.) -male guest bathroom to accommodate two people including a single-person shower facility (one @ 250 ea. *FINAL INTERIOR SPACES TOTAL: -Exterior Spaces: 21.178. -An entry space outdoors that allows for a sort of transition as one moves from the profane.) 200 sq. ft.525 sq.357.) -female guest bathroom to accommodate three people (one @ 150 ea.525 sq.061. ft. 2. urban city to the sacred.) -male guest bathroom to accommodate three people (one @ 150 ea. ft. 150 sq. -My overall site is roughly 99 ft. 250 sq. Interior spaces: P) Circulation/Transition spaces (30% of interior spaces total) -30% of 14. ft. . ft. ft.75 sq.25 sq. x 225 ft. ft. 14.525 sq. 250 sq.) -female guest bathroom to accommodate two people including a single-person shower facility (one @ 250 ea. 4.50 sq. -A variety of spaces for landscaping and plantings of various sorts for both individuals and groups to enjoy the outdoors -Spaces for sitting as well as for paths and walking areas which lead through the outdoor spaces.275 sq. spiritual retreat center. 150 sq.

Overall. whether it is visual. At first glance. nature and natural elements. lighting (both natural and artificial). lines of vision (views from one space to another). . noise.061. texture and materials. I would like to try to allow for some interaction between these two types of spaces. these issues include such things as: views (from inside out and outside in).McGahan 36 -The final interior square footage = 21.25 sq. ft. Diagram 2 There are already many design issues that have risen out of the sacred elements and activities that will occur within this spiritual retreat center. individual spaces would be in another. storage rooms. it seems that the more public. etc. I’m interested in playing with these spaces and seeing if I can prevent them from becoming totally isolated from one another. group spaces would be located in one area of the building and the more private. physical or both. Perhaps the group spaces would be open to views of the city and allow views in as well. However. Also the more service-oriented spaces like the offices. -This provides me with plenty of area to have a multi-story building that meets both the needed interior as well as the desired exterior spaces of the program. and the like will probably all be located in one area which would be more separate from but convenient to the public and the rest of the building’s spaces. comfort.

Perhaps merely allowing those on the exterior a small glimpse of the activities occurring inside will be enough to spark interest in the passer by. meditate. creating an interaction between these people may only be able to occur visually. and the group of visitors who will probably be coming for a lecture or a class of some sort.McGahan 37 First. Since this program involves both individuals and groups of people.. This interaction could be designed in such a way that allows for learning from one group yet while not disturbing the other. Lighting plays a vital role in almost every kind of sacred space imaginable. This may be by simply placing the entry in a prominent. etc. and this will be very important in . there could be walls of glass that allow views in from the outside or by somehow creating an interaction between both the users of the interior space and those that pass by on the exterior. from my desire for the center to be open to all. Interaction is not only physical but also can occur visually. Thus in this program it will be important not only in the artificial lighting. Lines of vision play an important role when trying to create spaces where interaction can occur among various people who may not necessarily be sharing the same physical space. etc. or by some other means of welcoming ‘outsiders’. entrance. and overall exterior view of the center must be welcoming to everyone. the individual who will probably come to worship. the location. easily viewed and accessed location. Light often helps to create the ‘mood’ of a space. Another goal is to stimulate interaction between the two ‘groups’ of visitors. massage therapy. but also in the natural lighting of the sun and how these affect both the interior and exterior spaces. Providing opportunities to see and possibly hear what is going on in other spaces nearby could be used as a tool to unite these two groups of participants and spark interest in what the other visitors are experiencing. For instance. receive counseling.

spatial arrangements and sizes. lines of vision. Ignatius in Seattle. nature and the outdoors play a significant role in sanctity and sacred places throughout many religions. atmosphere. and other factors such as the location within the larger space. comfort. healing. Issues like comfort and atmosphere 22) Chapel of St. Washington by Steven Holl Architects bring up design factors already mentioned like lighting. retreat. another goal of mine is to create different opportunities for nature and the outdoors to become part of the interior spaces as well. It will also be important to design an overall space that fosters an atmosphere of serenity and calm and yet also allows for the multiple uses that this program intends. scale. cultures and regions.McGahan 38 certain spaces in the program such as the meditative spaces and the spaces of worship and prayer. transitions between spaces. Design of these spaces would have to take noise into consideration-noise from other adjacent spaces and noise from the surrounding urban landscape. etc. meditation. As discussed earlier. furniture. In addition to creating various outdoor spaces (for both individual use and group use). noise. Skylights and light wells can be Sketches used to bring sunlight into spaces that may otherwise be . When speaking of the ideas of escape. etc. and the other similar spaces within the spiritual retreat center. issues that arise are those of noise.

designing transitional spaces not only among the various kinds of interior spaces but also between the initial transition of exterior city space and the interior reception area is critical to this thesis. Water. If glass. the wall could serve as a sort of ‘screen’ between spaces by allowing sunlight to pass through it but having the moving water create a translucent wall. another element in nature that has a multitude of sacred meanings to various people and belief systems. This water wall would appeal to not only the visual and audible senses of the visitors but would also allow them to physically interact with it by touching the water as it moves down the wall.McGahan 39 inaccessible to it or where sunlight may be unexpected. having spaces throughout the building for small interior garden areas will be another way to bring these natural elements indoors for the visitors to enjoy and connect with while inside. can also be incorporated into both interior and exterior spaces to serve a variety of functions. Also. Finally. Designing a ‘water wall’ in some of the interior spaces could create a soothing atmosphere by creating ‘white noise’ in the background while 23) Hand on Water Wall other activities and discussions are occurring elsewhere. This transitional element will be very important in that it not only physically reorients the visitor from the profane urban environment to the Diagram 3 . The background material of the wall can differ depending on the desired effect.

sacred space. . earthly realm and the divine realm with which the participants seek to communicate. but that it reorients the visitor’s mind as well so as to prepare him/her for the experience to come.McGahan 40 calm. These transitional features mimic the main theme of the ‘sacred space’ as being its own transition between the human.

The population of the entire city of Cincinnati was 331. This bank also owns many adjacent properties. was 5. Kentucky. north and east. Ohio.285 people in the year 2000 (See Appendix I). including two of the parking garages within a block of my site. It sits at the meeting point of three states: Ohio. and the rest of Hamilton County to the west. This site is currently undeveloped and owned by the bank Western and Southern Life. Some 80.70 The Downtown area’s population. These include not only the highway systems that run through and around the city but also the city’s metro bus system. Cincinnati is located in southwest Ohio and is bounded by the Ohio River to the south. located one block northeast.000 employees make their . the shuttle service from Kentucky to Cincinnati.71 However this number is growing rapidly as more and more developers open up more lofts and apartments for downtown living.447 people. and Indiana.McGahan 41 Site Introduction: My site is located on the corner of Sycamore Street and East Fourth Street in the downtown area of Cincinnati. which can provide the public parking for my program. There are also many parking lots and garages for those who travel by car into the city. Cincinnati is the twenty-third largest city in the United States and the second largest in Ohio. as of the year 2000.72 The downtown area of the city is easily accessible from a multitude of locations via a variety of types of transportation. and the new pedestrian bridge from Kentucky to Cincinnati. the city’s pedestrian skywalk. Cincinnati’s elevation rests at around 490 feet above sea level downtown and up to 560 feet and higher in other areas surrounding downtown.69 It is located within six hundred miles of more than half of the entire nation’s population.

McGahan 42 way into the downtown area everyday using these modes of transportation as well as 120. Also included in this are the already existing spaces like the number of parks in the downtown area and religious institutions that are spread throughout the city. the International Friendship Park that runs along the Ohio River on the east side of downtown. as I have previously mentioned. . Such places in and around the city include the World Peace Bell which resides in Newport.73 Other features of this area are programs similar or supportive of my program. and the Underground Railroad Freedom Center which is still 24) International Friendship Park in progress on the riverfront. There are many Christian places of worship throughout the downtown area as well as one Jewish temple and a Buddhist sacred space.000 visitors. Kentucky just across the river.

83 Religious conflicts in Germany led to many German immigrants moving into the city around the 1830’s. a potato famine in Ireland added many Irish immigrants to Cincinnati in the 1840’s. which created an economic surge in Cincinnati. Losantiville.78 In 1790 the area was renamed Cincinnati.77 Around 1789 this area was given its first name. John Filson named it this because it means “town opposite the mouth” meaning the mouth of the Licking River.85 Due to these immigrants.81 After the war of 1812.79 Settlement began around 1794 after the area was opened to newcomers.McGahan 43 History: In ancient. One of its first settlers.74 Southern Ohio was later home to Miami and Shawnee groups.84 Also. who were driven out by the Iroquois around the 1660’s. prehistoric times. which gave military protection to the territories that surrounded it.75 Some of these Native Americans who were driven out returned. the city was in the center of the trade markets on the river.82 In 1827 the building of the Miami Canal was completed and opened.80 Cincinnati was chartered as a town in 1802 and then as a city in 1819. At Losantiville there was a fort known as Fort Washington. only to be driven out again in 1730 by white American settlements.76 The area near the intersection of four rivers was a crossing point for these and other Native American groups until these settlements took over. by the Northwest Territory governor General Arthur St. the land that we now know as Cincinnati was home to Native Americans like the Adena and the Hopewell Indians. Clair. He gave it this name in honor of two peoples. first the Roman soldier Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and the Society of Cincinnati who were an organization of Revolutionary War officers. Cincinnati’s . which opens up onto the Ohio River.

The 1850’s brought with it steamboats.000.86 These two cultural and ethnic groups would prove to have a lasting effect on the city from their arrival up to the present day. the public library.88 After the Civil War the city prospered from new trade with southern states and its population grew to over 200. Union Terminal.89 Businessmen of the time began to arrange for railroads to be built to connect the city with southern cities to further this trade and commerce.87 This was also the time when Cincinnati first got its nickname “Porkopolis”.000 people. the zoo. are just a few of these works that continue to stand out in the city. which stems from its status as the world’s largest pork-packing centers of that time. This richness has been gained not only by the more recent immigration . and Music Hall.92 As shown. which gave us some great Art Deco styled architecture that we still treasure today. and the start of the art museum and academy. In the 1920’s and 30’s there was an abundance of new construction going on in and around the city. the fountain in Fountain Square in 1871.000 of them docked regularly. Finally in 1880 the city of Cincinnati built its first rail line to allow trade via the newest form of transportation. which cluttered up the city’s harbors with more than 8.McGahan 44 population soared to over 46.90 The late nineteenth century brought with it some of Cincinnati’s most distinguished landmarks and institutions such as: The Roebling Suspension Bridge in 1867.91 A decline in riverboat trade in the 1870’s led to an increase in railroad lines across the United States. Cincinnati’s history is rich with various cultural and religious backgrounds. and the Times Star Building. 25) Roebling Suspension Bridge the conservatory of music. The Carew Tower.

present. It is this history that the city should embrace and learn more about in order to move forward into the future. overcome the obstacles that separate us and embrace the history .McGahan 45 by Europeans but also from the original. and future (and all the differences those bring) of other people around us. 26) Union Terminal . Native Americans who lived on this land long before any one else. and often times forgotten.

and interaction among these various groups. and the Muslim category does not show any results.285. Hinduism is not listed as a part of this survey. Despite these increases.92%). racial diversity is increasing.447 of those who live in the downtown area of the city. Cincinnati’s diversity among religions is also something important to my research and I have included another chart in Appendix III regarding religious adherence in the area. and most interesting of all. the Hispanic population grew by an astounding 77%! This shows that within the county. That only leaves a small percentage for a mixture of other races (mostly Asians and Hispanics). An increase in people of the Jewish faith is shown. . as well as in the category labeled “other”. which demonstrates that there is more of a need for understanding.S. Catholicism has the highest number of members.97%) is Caucasian. which included 5. the majority of the city’s population (52. but we unfortunately do not know what makes up this category. The survey was taken in 1990 and in 2000 and shows a graph displaying the changes over this decade. the Caucasian population decreased by about 20%. In Appendix II you can see these racial population shifts broken down into areas of Hamilton County. in addition to some other Cincinnati statistics. communication.McGahan 46 Population: As I have previously mentioned. During the decade between 1990 and 2000. The second largest racial population is African-American (42. Overall. based on race. all of which can be seen in Appendix I. with various denominations of Protestantism following behind. Overall. Census of 2000. according to the U. the African-American population increased by about 3%. there were dramatic shifts in population growth and decline. Cincinnati’s population was 331.

McGahan 47 However. . common knowledge of the area and organizations within Cincinnati tells us that there are a number of members of these religious faiths as well.

Strong northwest winds are the prevailing winds of this area and there is an average annual snowfall of about 24 inches (See Appendix V).McGahan 48 Climate and Weather: Cincinnati has what is known as a ‘moderate’ climate.94 (Other temperature and weather history can be found in Appendix IV). The city experiences four distinct seasons per year ranging from harshly cold winters with snow and ice to blazing hot summers with high humidity. .93 The overall average low temperature is around thirty-one degrees Fahrenheit and the overall average high temperature is around seventy-six degrees Fahrenheit. Average annual rainfall for Cincinnati is about forty inches with the most being during the spring and early summer.

which will definitely provide a large number of workers who might potentially use this program. a few trees. Across Fourth Street to the north . These issues will provide an interesting challenge on how to get sunlight into the interior spaces of my program as I begin designing. which equates to nearly a half an acre of land. the area is rarely used and not well maintained. The land is zoned as vacant commercial land and is currently owned by the nearby bank Western & Southern Life. Surrounding my site are many interesting organizations and services that will support my program. First there are three major office buildings one block to the west and one block to the northwest of my site. which both brings down the scale of the area and adds some warmth. There will be an abundant amount of morning sun from the east but not as much from the west as there is multi-story office building across the street on this side. On the fourth (south) side there is a seven-story parking garage that blocks most of the south boundary of the site and therefore the most opportunity for southern sun exposure. benches and some plants. The site is on a corner lot. This location is in the southeast corner of downtown and is roughly 99 feet x 225 feet in area. Although the site is technically ‘vacant’.McGahan 49 Site Analysis Description: My site is located on the corner of Sycamore Street and East Fourth Street in the downtown area of Cincinnati. 27) My Site Across and also farther down the street toward the east the sidewalks are lined with trees. it currently has a small park-like landscape with small grassy areas. which allows two of its sides to be open and a third side is open to a parking lot. However.

Both of these will again add more opportunities for potential users of the site. and events for its members. As mentioned. on Broadway Street. meals. Moving farther out from the site there are more office buildings including the Chiquita Building and also one of Cincinnati’s largest employers. This is a private organization that houses social gatherings. Next. organizations. Adjacent to the church is the International Language Center. which could provide parking to the visitors of my site as well as other parking lots and garages nearby. Locating the site near all of these businesses. 28) Buildings along 4th Street across from site Moving east on Fourth Street there are more office buildings and the Western & Southern Life Bank one block over. and apartments will provide a large quantity and also a diversity of potential participants of this program. there are recently renovated apartments and another building which is currently unoccupied and for sale. store and other related services. is a parking lot and building which is owned by the Queen City Club. which includes a Christian church. translation. which is a language institute for intensive language training. Procter & Gamble. . and interpretation. which is one street east of Sycamore.McGahan 50 there is the Christ Church Cathedral. on the east. It will be interesting to have these two organizations nearby since my program will be offering some slightly similar services but in a different context. Immediately adjacent to my site. there is a public parking garage located directly behind the site to the south.

This will provide. The shuttle service that runs among Newport. As previously mentioned. Finally. for the users of the site. and Cincinnati passes just one block away from the site as well. The city’s skywalk ends at the office building right across Sycamore Street to the west and the pedestrian bridge is not too far of a walk to the east. Covington. an excellent means of transportation just a few steps away. . which will also allow for quick navigation to these parking facilities and the site. the site is located near the various highway ramps.McGahan 51 Transportation: One major advantage to this site is the location of a bus stop immediately across Fourth Street next to the Christ Church Cathedral. there is an abundance of parking lots and garages near the site including the public garage directly to the south which can provide parking for users who might drive to the site.

from the local buses. as does the east. noise will be an issue that will have to be addressed in the design for both indoor and outdoor spaces. some sunlight can pass through at various times. office buildings shade the western side. In any case. The north side has much shorter buildings. As mentioned. sunlight and sun patterns will be of great importance to this site and design. however having visited the site many times I have observed that this particular area of downtown is noticeably more quiet than most others. . but since these are separated by a large street. There is some noise associated with the nearby riverfront and highway systems. Two tall. because some wind gets tunneled down the adjacent street corridors and may affect the site. These include pollution and noise from cars and trucks.McGahan 52 Additional Site Features: Cincinnati’s prevailing northwest winds may be an issue even though it is somewhat blocked by tall office buildings. Pollution concerns around the site stem mostly from the various transportation types that occur in the city. which allows much more sunlight to penetrate the site from these areas. and other exhaust and odor from nearby buildings. Having a south façade that is almost completely blocked by a seven-story parking garage will provide a great challenge for getting sunlight to interior spaces of the program.

Again there are two plans. Plan A. As noted by the street directions. along with Plan F. The bus stop is pointed out directly across the street from the site as well. one showing the winter sun and one showing summer. Plan E. this plan shows the same sun shadows only this time if the sun was coming from the southwest direction.This is an overall plan of downtown Cincinnati and shows where my site is located in relation to downtown as a whole. My site is located in the southeastern corner and is delineated by a solid black box. Plan C.Similar to the previous plan. Plan D. Also shown are the few trees that line Fourth Street near the site and in front of the Christ Church Cathedral. one showing the shadows produced from the sun in winter when the sun angle is low and the second from in the summer when the sun angle is high. the site is nearby the major highway ramps and is only a few blocks from the riverfront area. which shows the solids and voids from the previous site plan. Here you can more easily see what is a solid building or structure and what is an open lot with respect to my site.This. the approach to the site will be from either traveling south on Sycamore Street or west on Fourth Street. topography changes.This plan is a figure-ground map.This plan shows some notes and important features from the site analysis. Noted here are wind directions in summer and winter. As this plan shows. Plan B. noise. is showing an overall estimate of the sun shadows produced if the sun was coming from the southeast direction. Plan F. views and a few other elements that may be important to the site and my design. There are two plans.McGahan 53 Site Plans: The following site plans are attached within this document at the end of this section and before the appendixes.This site plan notes all of the neighboring buildings and their functions and user groups. .

estimated shadow conditions and the inability to get much south sun exposure. . So. I am presented with a challenge to get sun into spaces in my program and still allow the site to communicate with nature and the outdoors. Also. Another challenge is to not allow noise and other pollution from the passing vehicles and buses to disrupt or interfere in my program and site. Other challenges will be to somehow block the northwestern winter winds and perhaps somehow gain access to the southwestern summer breezes.McGahan 54 From both of these plans one can see that the low winter sun angles produce shadows that extend out farther across my site from the neighboring buildings than the summer sun shadows. as previously believed. a need to create outdoor spaces for the users of this program in both group and individual settings may provide the opportunity for unique design solutions. due to these general. Also shown is that the high-rise office building to the west will put a great deal of shade upon my site when the sun is coming from that direction.

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“Making Sacred Places. “The Retreat Environment: Summary of a Study of the Participants.html?market=Cincinnati Quinn. and Jim Postell. eds. The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions. Russell.” Business Courier 23 June 2003. 1997.” Environmental Change/Social Change EDRA 16. Tuan. Space and Place: The Perspective of 2003/06/23/ http://www. Internet. Memory. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press. 2001. 2000: 109-113. David G. 1994. 2001. Websites: http://www. Activities.” Application for Tenure and Promotion. Bob. Online. The Deepest Spiritual Life: The Art of Combining Personal Spiritual Practice with Religious Community. Susan. “Take a break to combat work stress.cincinnati. Spaces for the Sacred: Place. and Facilities of Retreat Centers. New York: Harper Collins.cincinnatiusa. 1985. Saile.” Built Form and Cultural Research 6. Nelson. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.html http://www. Smith. 17 November 2003. Virginia FASLA. Huston.areaconnect. 2002. Ashland.McGahan 56 Alternative Community in Cincinnati. and Identity. Sheldrake. Available: http://cincinnati.christocenter. . New York. OR: White Cloud Press. University of Cincinnati. Yi-Fu.

com/chicagobuddha/chicagobuddha/ http://www.rcn.retreatfinder.htm Appendixes: Appendix I: http://www.htm http://www.htm Appendix II: CincinnatiDemographics.ASP?NavBar=1 http://www.asp http://www.McGahan 57 .richmondhillva.uc.html http://www.html http://www.hamilton-co.htm http://www.

com/cityweather.htm Appendix IV: .pdf Appendix III: http://www.asp?city=Cincinnati Appendix V: 58 2000%20SNA%20Population%20Change.cityrating.

Studies of a Tectonic Culture.sspx. Sacred 37 21 Eliade.. 1999 (18) 29 Hamma. Sacred 36 20 Eliade. 2001. 40 Eliade.msnbc.downtowncincinnati. Landscapes 150 38 http://www.” Business Courier 23 June 2003. Patterns 459 11 Eliade. Sacred 202 26 Eliade.uc. Landscapes 38 36 Hamma. The Illustrated World’s Religions: A Guide to Our Wisdom Traditions. New York: Harcourt. (88). Landscapes 18 31 Hamma. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of “Take a break to combat work stress. 38 19 Eliade. David A. Mircea. Inc.htm 45 http://www. Sacred 21 12 Eliade. Sacred 21 41 Eliade. Sacred 21 15 Patterns 101 22 Eliade. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press. “Take…” 8 39 Eliade. Inc. Patterns 188 28 Hamma.asp 4 Landscapes 136 37 Hamma. 1959 (9).htm 5 The world’s largest employee-assistance program provider according to article 6 Bob 10 Eliade. Sacred 25 16 Eliade. 1959 (12). 36.htm 44 http://www. Kenneth. Cambridge: MIT Patterns 14 27 Eliade. Sacred 117 25 Eliade. Sacred 26 42 http://www. Silence.html 9 Eliade. Sacred 180 24 Eliade. Landscapes of the Soul: A Spirituality of Place.html 46 Smith. Sacred 21 14 Eliade.sspx. Landscapes 38 34 Hamma.sspx. 47 Smith. Patterns 370 18 Eliade. Mircea.htm 43 http://www. Sacred 58 23 Eliade.dictionary. Landscapes 18 33 Hamma. Landscapes 14 30 Hamma. Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press. . Landscapes of the Soul: A Spirituality of Place. 7 Nelson. 48 Cooper. Robert M. 1999 (44) 3 http://www. Robert M.christocenter. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Patterns 461 17 Eliade. Landscapes 38 35 Hamma. New York: Harper Collins.McGahan 59 Endnotes 1 Frampton. Landscapes 18 32 Hamma. New York: Harcourt. Sacred 35. 1994 (63).org/miscellaneous/history_of_the_ignatian_retreat. Simplicity and Solitude: A Complete Guide to Spiritual 2Hamma. Sacred 21 13 Eliade.

org 66 http://www.html 68 72 http://www.htm#history 79 http://www.htm 87 http://www.downtowncincinnati.htm 78 http://www. 50 Smith.usacitiesonline. Cooper. VT: Skylight Paths.grailville. (27).grailville.htm 83 http://www. (52).htm 88 65 90 58 http://www. (26). Woodstock.usacitiesonline. 51 Cooper.htm 84 62 http://www.richmondhillva.dickshovel.downtowncincinnati.eastretreat.McGahan 60 Retreat.asp 56 70 49 .html 75 61 60 80 http://www. (163).com 71 67 1999 (26) 63 74 http://www.msnbc. 53 Smith.dickshovel. 55 http://www. 54 85 93 http://www.rcn.html 69 http://www.html 76 http://www.downtowncincinnati.uwec. 52 89 http://www.htm#history 91 73 http://www. (57). (42).com/ohcountycincinnati.html 77 59 94 64 82 http://www.asp 57 http://www.htm 92 http://www.ASP?NavBar=1 86 81 http://www.

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