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Mission and History

The Mission of the Architecture, Culture and Spirituality Forum, Inc., is to provide an international forum for scholarship, education, practice, and advocacy regarding the cultural and spiritual significance of the built environment.

ACSF was founded in April 2007. It emerged from a number of conferences dating from the early 1990’s, which were dedicated to scholarship on the cultural significance, ritual use and meaning of sacred places and religious architecture. During the intervening years there also was a remarkable growth in scientific and professional research on mind and spirituality accompanied by a parallel increase in public interest in the subject. At the same time, it was clear that architecture and allied disciplines were not offering enough space or attention to this emerging interest, scholarship, teaching, and practice. All this indicated a propitious time to engage an international audience through a process that was integrative (interdisciplinary), diverse (ecumenical), cutting-edge (at the forefront of research and practice), rigorous, and open.

During the annual ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture conference in Salt Lake City (March 2006), Thomas Barrie (North Carolina State University), Julio Bermudez (then at the University of Utah, now at the Catholic University of America), Anat Geva (Texas A&M University), and Randall Teal (University of Idaho) met, discussed, and agreed on the need to start a forum that engaged the study, practice, and teaching occurring at the intersection between architecture, culture and spirituality. During the following months, the four collaborated in the production of a white paper entitled “Architecture, Culture, Spirituality (ACS). Creating a forum for scholarship and discussion of spirituality and meaning in the built environment”. Using this paper as both foundation and rationale, prominent scholars and practitioners in the field were contacted and invited to join the nascent organization, many of whom accepted and became the first members of ACSF. The Founding Whitepaper is available here.

During the following years the organization grew through a robust program of symposia, partnerships, and publications. In November 2015 ACSF was incorporated as nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c) (3) corporation in the state of North Carolina (USA). A President, Chair, and Board of Directors lead it.