Architecture of the World’s Major Religions

An Essay on Themes, Differences, and Similarities


In Architecture of the World’s Major Religions: An Essay on Themes, Differences, and Similarities, Thomas Barrie presents and explains religious architecture in ways that challenge predominant presumptions regarding its aesthetic, formal, spatial, and scenographic elements. Two positions frame its narrative: religious architecture is an amalgam of aesthetic, social, political, cultural, economic, and doctrinal elements; and these elements are materialized in often very different ways in the world’s principal religions. Central to the work’s theoretical approaches is the communicative and discursive agency of religious architecture, and the multisensory and ritual spaces it provides to create and deliver content. Subsequently, mythical and scriptural foundations, and symbols of ecclesiastical and political power are of equal interest to formal organizations of thresholds, paths, courts, and centers, and celestial and geometric alignments. Moreover, it is equally concerned with the aesthetic, visual and material cultures and the transcendent realms they were designed to evoke, as it is with the kinesthetic, the dynamic and multisensory experience of place and the tangible experiences of the body’s interactions with architecture.

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Thomas Barrie is Professor of Architecture at North Carolina State University whose scholarship focuses on the symbolism, ritual use, and cultural significance of architecture. He has published extensively in his subject areas, including House and Home: Cultural Contexts, Ontological Roles (Routledge, 2017).

Architecture of the World’s Major Religions
An Essay on Themes, Differences, and Similarities
Thomas Barrie
 1 Introduction
 2 Approaches, Reconsiderations, and Contextual Themes and Typologies
 3 Judaism
 4 Christianity
 5 Islam
 6 Hinduism
 7 Taoism
 8 Buddhism
 9 Coda
 Cited Works
Scholars and students interested in cross-cultural studies of religious architecture and its material cultures, and the communicative, affective, ontological, and ritual aspects of the built environment.
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