Three Canadian Architects Among Panelists in Film Series About Spirituality and the Built Environment

Photo source: ACS Forum

Three Canadian architects were among the panelists in a film series calling on design professionals to implement spiritual perspectives in order to tackle issues in the built environment.

In collaboration with the Center of Theological Inquiry, the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality (ACS) Forum launched the Critical Conversations Project, a series of thematic roundtable discussions. These discussions, conducted in 2021 to 2022, aimed to expand perspectives on cutting-edge issues within the built environment by incorporating spiritual viewpoints.

“We recognize that we live in a pivotal time with promises and perils of rapid change – and that our most vexing problems are directly related to the built environment. We accept that that the design professions have the ability – and responsibility – to seek, design, and implement solutions,” reads the ACS Forum’s website.

The Critical Conversations Project brought together a diverse panel of experts in fields including architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, public interest design, material culture, theology, religious studies, psychology, history, and environmental health.

The three Canadian architects that were panelists in this film series included Brigitte Shim, founding partner of Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, Roberto Chiotti of Larkin Architects and Tammy Gaber, Director, McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University.

This project included two webinars and three sessions hosted at the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, NJ, that built upon the experts’ year-long exploration of religion and the built environment.

Photo source: ACS Forum

The participants examined how various cultural, ethical, environmental, and transcendent dimensions of the built environment could effectively address modern challenges, including spatial and environmental inequalities, economic bias, climate change, globalization, urbanization, the erosion of place and significance, and other imperatives related to constructed spaces.

“I think it’s about creating habitats that facilitate humanity in transcending itself. A disconnect from matter, maybe even a disconnect from the measured world,” said Shim, adding that the imcompleteness of oneself may be a place that completes us.

The project included a full-length feature film documenting the Princeton Sessions, three condensed short films capturing the essence of the Princeton Sessions, and two webinars.

The films are meant to act as an urgent call for the design professions to seek, design, and implement spiritual perspectives to the industry’s most pressing problems.