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Architecture Exhibit — Box of Miracles: Contemplating a 21st Century Convent


Jan. 23 to March 1

WHERE: Wesley Theological Seminary
Kresge Academic Building
4500 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

Architectural drawings and models from The Catholic University of America’s Sacred Space and Cultural Studies Concentration (SSCS) will be on display at Wesley Theological Seminary this spring in the Dadian Gallery of the Henry Luce III Center for Arts and Religion.

Julio Bermudez, director of SSCS, has conducted research for many years on the phenomenon of how people respond to sacred spaces — work ranging from the study of literature to the use of functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) brain scans.

This past fall Bermudez collaborated with Luis Boza, associate professor of architecture at CUA, to teach a studio course in which students designed a fictional monastic space on the banks of the Potomac River.

In the SSCS concentration — one of just a few in the world that enable students to study and design sacred spaces — issues of ethereality, durable materials, light, silence, and verticality are considered and made tangible. The results of these encounters are on display in the gallery, providing a glimpse into the process involved in shaping contemplative environments.

Historically sacred spaces are those designated for purposes considered sacred by the people building them. They range from churches to temples, though Bermudez says he believes, “you can find sacred space in spaces that were not intended to be religious … In the end, it’s an experience. Are people transformed, do they fall into silence? Do they have awe?” These breathtaking moments produce “extraordinary architectural experiences.” The projects designed collaboratively by Bermudez’s and Boza’s students allow visitors the opportunity to find the sacred in their own space.

An opening reception and artist talk, featuring CUA students, will be held Jan. 29 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The exhibition and gallery talk are free and open to the public. Regular hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gallery is closed weekends and holidays.

For more information on the gallery, call 202-885-8608. For more information on CUA’s SSCS concentration in architecture, call 202-319-5188.

SPONSOR: School of Architecture and Planning


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