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By Howard Hebel
The new Numen Lumen Pavilion at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, responds comprehensively to a relatively new demand on the architecture of religious experience: to serve multiple faiths collectively.
Since before recorded history, transcendent places have nurtured and inspired religious communities, one faith at a time. Today’s U.S. cultural landscape presents architects with a new opportunity to influence religious experience. The spectrum of religions practicing in this “melting-pot” amid unaffiliated “seekers” fosters new openness to exploring enduring questions collaboratively, with tremendous potential to help reduce conflict stemming from intolerance. Architects can stimulate this ferment by designing places for celebrating humanity’s religious diversity holistically, helping both the faithful and the faithless to share a search for meaning and purpose.
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