Posted in education on February 25, 2014 3:36 pm EST

Into the Think-Tank with IFRAA Virginia

A recap of the late 2013 chapter forum -- and its implications for future sacred space design

Each November, the Virginia chapter of IFRAA sponsors a program designed to present architects with a forum for the exchange of ideas relating to religion, art and architecture.











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TAGS: historical buildings, renovation,


By Keith Loria

Each November, the Virginia chapter of the AIA Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA) sponsors a program at Architecture Exchange East in Richmond, Va., designed to present architects with a forum for the exchange of ideas relating to religion, art and architecture.

The 2013 program was held on Nov. 8, and the program reportedly offered something a little different than just a look at the excellence in the design of worship spaces and their accouterments.

Event snapshot

“What we did this year was sponsor two different seminars as part of our learning track on religious architecture,” says Martha J. Chester, AIA, NCARB, president of Hughes Associates Architects & Engineers in Roanoke, Va. “The first seminar was on the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee. The second was on the Washington National Cathedral [in Washington, D.C.]”

Nearly 100 architects came out to take part in one or both of the seminars, which set in motion a plan by the organization to expand the offerings in the years ahead.

“This year was a primer for eventually having a symposium, which we are targeting for the spring of 2015, with the focus to look at facilities in the urban context,” says William Robson, first chairman and founder of the Virginia chapter of AIA IFRAA. “We are toying with the idea of a two-day event that will focus on what role the church plays in the city and the city plays for churches—and studying some of the different paradigms of that.”

The two cathedral examples from the 2013 event have been imbedded in their cities for hundreds of years and have grown with their cities and evolved with their cities. The program provided just a snapshot of the beginning of the examination of the church in the city. According to Robson, the symposium will expand to look at churches that started in a city, moved to the suburbs, and came back to the city, as well as ministry trends.  continued >>