Exploring the Language of Sacred Architecture

A Salon Discussion

Presented by
The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art 
Utah Chapter

Salon Discussion: 

Any study in search of the language of sacred architecture will eventually come to focus its attention on the temple. In fact, the building typology most often referred to by comparative historians of religion and sacred architecture is the temple. Templum Dei, Latin for Temple of God, is a fitting title for an exploration of sacred architecture; for it reveals one of the key functions of religious buildings which serve as a dwelling place, domicile, or house of god(s). In our investigation and discussion, we must seek to answer the following questions as we attempt to learn the language of sacred architecture and art:
  • What is the overarching purpose(s) of sacred art and architecture?
  • What is the role of the architect or artist in producing such sacred objects of devotion or places of worship?
  • What landscape features or areas of a city constitute an ideal site for such a sacred structure?
  • Does the direction a building face really matter? What celestial alignments, if any, should be considered?
  • What message does the ritual order of spaces (i.e., spatial sequence) convey to pilgrims?
  • What design principles convey beauty in sacred art and architecture? Are they similar or different to the classical tradition?
  • What is the role of archetypes, sacred geometry, symbols, proportion, and ornament? How do these features enrich the ritual-architectural experience?

Please join us for an open discussion with artists and architects sharing their views on the language of sacred architecture.  Light refreshments will be served.

References for discussion:

Short Videos


Thursday, September 1st, 5:00 pm


VCBO Architecture

524 South 600 East, Salt Lake City


ICAA Members: Free
ICAA Non-Members: $5
Students: Free