What is a Temple? Mormon and Non-Mormon Architectural Perceptions

“What is a Temple? A Preliminary Assessment of Mormon and Non-Mormon Architectural Perceptions for Designers”

ABSTRACT: The Mormon landscape is comprised of sacred architectural artifacts, known as temples, which act as embodied symbols of religio-cultural identity. In an effort to empirically map this phenomenon, a pilot survey was conducted in 2011. This paper reports the results of the survey to assess what architectural qualities are important for Mormons and non-Mormons alike. While the paper presents the major similarities and differences between the two groups, the findings are strengthened with architectural analyses of several case studies. The preliminary evidence offered in the paper suggests how religio-cultural perceptions may be affected by encounters with sacred space and their implications for designers.

This is an expanded version of a paper that was presented at the “Bridges and Byways: Traversing the Mormon Landscape” Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT, July 30 – August 2, 2014.

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