Designing is an artform, a reflection of God's original work of creation. The building of churches and homes and stores and cities and places of beauty instill in the architect and observer the excitement God must have felt when his love overflowed to create the world.
The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment
Eric O. Jacobsen (Baker Academic)
What a splendid book, delightful, informed, passionate, helping people of faith care about urban planning, social space, buildings, and the “space between” them. The author is a thoughtful Presbyterian minister who developed an interest in new urbanism while pastoring in a small town (and wrote Sidewalks of the Kingdom: Christian Faith and New Urbanism while engaged in that community) which led him into this work as a vocation, where he developed this wonderful resource.
Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architecture, Urbanism and the Sacred
Philip Bess (Intercollegiate Studies Institute)
What a feisty and fascinating book, written by a conservative Roman Catholic cultural critic, social historian and graduate professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame. Agree or not with his incisive critique, this is a provocative way to see how some people of faith have developed a theologically-informed vision of urban design and more.
Poetics of Space: The Classic Look at How We Experience Intimate Places
Gaston Bachelard (Beacon Press)
Although not from a uniquely Christian perspective, many have been grateful for this powerful rumination on the deeper meaning of space, buildings and more, written decades ago. Walking readers through various rooms of a home, this elegant but demanding book helps us appreciate not only homes, but houses and the phenomenology of dwelling. For a a similarly commendable, but more accessible (and consequently even more popular) work see the lovely Architecture of Happiness by Alain De Botton.
Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Civil Life in Modern America
Edited by Wilfred M. McClay and Ted V. McAllister (New Atlantis Books)
A rather diverse collection of serious scholars that help us explore the significance of place, the erosion of civil life, and how buildings and urban policy can enhance thriving locales.
A Theology of the Built Environment: Justice, Empowerment, Redemption
T. J. Gorringe (Cambridge University Press)
Obviously published by one of the world’s most prestigious publishers, this is a heavy, serious, and exceptionally significant, morally-serious work. Some may think his theological input is not fully adequate, and the writing a bit dense, but, in any event, this is doubtlessly the premier major work on the subject, a must read for anyone serious about theologically-informed Christian reading in the field.
The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses
Juhani Pallasmaa (John Wiley)
One of the great books of architectural philosophy in our time, this is wise and astute, serious and simply a must read. Written by one of Finland’s most distinguished architects, and a world-renowned professor. The latest (3rd) edition has a new preface by the author.
The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture
Juhani Pallasmaa (John Wiley)
Again, Pallasmaa is one of our best architectural scholars, a vibrant and thoughtful advocate for a multi-dimensional, wholistic approach to thinking about the field. The very title of this important work invites us to deep reflection, no?
* These reviews are from a friend of Trinity, Byron Borger. Visit Hearts and Minds Books.