“Sacred spaces have the potential of creating lasting and meaningful experiences for human beings. Recent studies in neuroaesthetics and neurotheology reveal the important role of human–environment interactions and spirituality on the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of human health and well-being (Bermudez et al. 2017; Chatterjee and Vartanian 2014; Coburn et al. 2017, 2020; Ishizu and Zeki 2014; Miller et al. 2019; Wang et al. 2011). Throughout the history of architecture, or at least the histories written by architectural historians, certain notable sacred buildings are repeatedly discussed due to the important role they have played in society or to the discipline of architecture. One simply needs to consider the Pantheon in Rome, Chartres Cathedral, or Notre Dame-du-haut in Ronchamp, France (Bermudez and Ro 2012, 2013). Interestingly, many of these sacred buildings are included in the history books because they continuously produce some of the most profound aesthetic human experiences. Despite their time, culture, or place, each building is a “timeless” piece of architecture that continues to create memorable experiences that speak to the human soul.”READ MORE…
ABSTRACT: This paper seeks to create a comparative framework for evaluating transformative experiences for different types of ritual contexts found in sacred architecture by bridging the gap between the phenomenology of human experience and architecture’s built conditions. The methodology creates a framework for statistical analysis, whereby evidence of people’s actual (i.e., real, lived) “subjective” experiences can be evaluated against the “objective” architectural conditions. The comparative framework is put to the test by comparing the experiential and environmental conditions found at the Pantheon in Rome. Experiential data for the Pantheon is extracted from Julio Bermudez’s large survey database (N = 2872) of “extraordinary architectural experiences” for this study. This data is compared against “objective” graphical architecture analysis using Lindsay Jones’ “morphology of ritual-architectural priorities” with a specific focus on ritual contexts. The quantitative and qualitative data reveals that the Pantheon produces transformative experiences for visitors that are related to the expected outcomes of specific design features. The percentages from the “objective” and “subjective” analysis both rank the priorities of theatre, contemplation, and sanctuary in the same order. This study concludes that built environments possessing a higher presence and quality of “ritual-architectural priorities” are more likely to be perceived as sacred and produce transformative experiences.
CITATION: Ro, Brandon R. 2022. “Blending the Subjective and Objective Realms of Sacred Architecture at the Pantheon: Creating a Comparative Framework for Evaluating Transformative Experiences in Ritual Contexts” Religions 13, no. 1: 75. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010075
To read the full article, click here: https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/13/1/75
To download a PDF of the article, click here: https://www.academia.edu/68147083/Blending_the_Subjective_and_Objective_Realms_of_Sacred_Architecture_at_the_Pantheon_Creating_a_Comparative_Framework_for_Evaluating_Transformative_Experiences_in_Ritual_Contexts