DESIGNER COLUMNS & BLOGS / Architecture Is Fun

Posted in Architecture Is Fun on December 13, 2017 12:30 pm EST

AIA Trends & Talking Points for 2018

The Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA), a knowledge community of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), represented by members Doug Hanson AIA, ASIC, and Stephen Pickard AIA, NCARB, discloses of-the-moment issues in sacred space design.

HansonLA's Doug Hanson, AIA, ASID, says today's worship spaces are making a tighter connection to the outdoors, and therefore to their communities, on a number of levels.









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TAGS: aia, architectural design, architecture, future, nature, sustainability, worship,


By Peter Exley, FAIA, and Sharon Exley, MAAE, ASID

Doug Hanson AIA, ASID, founder of the eponymous architecture firm Hanson LA in Los Angeles, is a member of the American Institute of Architects’ Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art & Architecture (IFRAA). We talked to Hanson about the issues that IFRAA sees as most relevant in the design of places and spaces for worship.

Doug Hanson, AIA, ASID, HansonLA

Hanson believes that architects are looking at “how worship spaces are making a greater connection to the outdoors” and how to provide more physical building and higher quality design to congregations through pragmatic, energy-efficient and “cost effective structures such as prefab and tilt-up concrete.” This range of design criteria -- from health and wellbeing to budget and return on investment -- is reflected in the IFRAA online discussion group at AIA KnowledgeNet (visit link).

Steven Pickard of GFF Architects in Dallas observes, “The modern church is not cloistered and mysterious, it is open and accessible. Creating more transparent buildings can reveal the life of the church and become a visible extension of (and connected to) the community that surrounds the church. Elaborate detailing and expensive materials have given way to more creative uses of inexpensive materials that are durable and easily maintained. Raw concrete is celebrated, not concealed, structural elements are exposed, and paints and stains have often become the interior finish of choice.” Pickard also notes the continuing emphasis and priority placed on youth and teen ministries.

Stephen Pickard, AIA, NCARB, GFF

Traditional approaches are not obsolete, asserts Jason Haskins AIA who is seeing “increasing evidence for ... new, more nuanced attitudes to architectures of the past, especially among younger architects and congregants.”

IFRAA is planning a series of events and tours at the upcoming A’18 Conference on Architecture in New York City (April 21-23, 2018), and topics of relevance are constantly under discussion. Hanson and his colleagues in IFRAA work to provide architects and professionals in the field with opportunities for collaboration and conversation with industry leaders throughout the United States.

IFRAA member Jason Haskins AIA reports “increasing evidence for ... new, more nuanced attitudes to architectures of the past, especially among younger architects and congregants.”

To participate in the IFRAA 2018 Worship Design Trends conversation, visit the AIA KnowledgeNet at: (visit link)





Learn more about the companies in this story:

Good Fulton and Farrell (GFF) Church Works Studio




American Institute of Architects (AIA)


Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA)



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