Online Zoom Forum: Architecture, Design, and Culture:
Spiritual, Social, and Policy Perspectives.


Date: Wednesday 22 November 2023.
Time: 7pm-9pm (UK time).


Event Description:

Format: There will be four talks, each of up to 15 minutes, followed by discussion among the speakers, the chair, and the audience, followed by Q & A.

Chair: Ian Wight PhD FCIP GTB.

Bio: Senior Scholar, City Planning, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba.

Now retired, and refiring, in his native land, after a professional career in planning in Canada, first as a practitioner and then as an educator, Ian has had a long interest in place and placemaking, in related professional practice, and in the essencing of the professing associated with architecture and design. He brings an integral perspective to his work, including the integration of Self, Culture and Nature - in body, mind, soul and spirit. Documentation of his refirement interests may be found on his ResearchGate site and in his LinkedIn articles.



Michael J. Crosbie, PhD:

Title: In Search of Sacred Place.

Description:: We live in a time when the contours of faith are changing, as people question their own relationship to organized religion. Many people, especially young people, possess a strong sense of spirituality, yet they are searching for places to express that spirituality in ways counter to the traditional sacred spaces. This presentation will explore the spiritual territories where the search is underway, and how people are finding the sacred in places that might be surprising.

Bio: Michael J. Crosbie, Ph.D., FAIA, NOMA, DPACSA studied architecture at The Catholic University of America and his currently Professor of Architecture at the University of Hartford. He is the former editor of Faith & Form: The Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art, and Architecture. Dr. Crosbie is the sole author, editor, or contributor to more than 75 books on architecture (including six on religious architecture). The author of hundreds of articles on architecture, design, and practice, he lectures throughout the US and abroad. He is the recipient of the Edward S. Frey Memorial Award, “in Recognition of the Contributions Made to Religion, Art, and Architecture,” bestowed by the American Institute of Architects. He is also a member of the AIA College of Fellows and received the Distinguished Professor Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. Dr. Crosbie served as the Walton Visiting Critic at The Catholic University of America in 2015.

Roberto Chiotti, OAA, FRAIC, MTS, LEED AP, ACSF,
Founding Principal, Larkin Architect Limited.

Title: Re-imagining Architectural Practice in the 21st Century: Our Way into the Future.

Description: Roberto Chiotti, OAA, FRAIC, MTS, ACSF Larkin Architect Limited, Toronto, ON, Canada This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“All human professions, institutions, and activities must be integral with the earth as the primary self- nourishing, self-governing and self-fulfilling community. To integrate our human activities within this context is our way into the future.” 1 Thomas Berry

The climate change emergency and its associated challenges represent an urgent spiritual crisis. The magnitude of the problem appears overwhelming and the solutions illusive because our imaginations and creativity have been constrained by an understanding of reality based upon material determinism that persists in believing we can continue to produce buildings that support our destructive patterns of production and consumption. And although the focus of our profession and education is beginning to shift towards addressing the climate emergency, I am concerned that the conversation remains insufficient to realize the transformational change necessary to bring about a viable future worth inheriting. I would suggest that before we attempt to find technological solutions from within the same worldview responsible for bringing us to this precipice, it will be necessary to extend our empathetic horizon, acknowledge the intrinsic value of the more than human earth community, and establish new forms of cognition grounded in a new vision of reality, or as cultural historian Thomas Berry suggests, rooted in a new, functional cosmology before we are able to instill the hope, inclination, skills, and knowledge necessary to create a more balanced and mutually supportive relationship with the natural world. 2

This presentation will explore potential sources of guidance from diverse voices ranging from academics and architectural theorists to cultural historians, physicists, and environmental lawyers to assist in cultivating the “ecological wisdom” required to bring about this urgent transformation of our profession, its related disciplines, and educators.

Perhaps as designers, if we choose to take time out from problem solving for a moment, and instead, engage all our senses to be actively, empathetically attentive to the natural world, we will begin to re-align our thinking with nature, instead of against it. We might also begin to appreciate that the earth demonstrates itself to be the primary designer, the primary educator, and the primary revelatory experience of the divine. Hopefully, this alternate form of practice will move us towards “Metanoia” – a transformative change of heart and spiritual conversion that leads to letting go of destructive habits and attitudes, and instead, movement towards embracing the intrinsic value of all living beings along with the integrity of the diverse and complex ecosystems in which they exist.

Berry, Thomas. The Dream of the Earth (San Francisco, Sierra Club Books, 1988) Berry, Thomas. The Great Work, Our Way into the Future (New York, Bell Tower, 1999)
Berry, Thomas. (Mary Evelyn Tucker ed.) The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-First Century (New York, Columbia University Press, 2009)
Mark Hathaway and Leonardo Boff. The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation
(Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books, 2009)
Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry. The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era, A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos (San Francisco, Harper Collins,1992)

1 Berry, Thomas. The Dream of the Earth. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1990 p.212)
2 Berry, Thomas. The Dream of the Earth. (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1990 p.66)

Bio: In addition to obtaining his professional architectural degree in 1978 from the University of Waterloo, Canada, Roberto Chiotti completed his Master of Theological Studies degree at the University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto in 1998 with a specialty in Theology and Ecology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and founding principal of Larkin Architect Limited, a Toronto based firm specializing in the design of sustainable sacred space for parishes and religious communities, mostly within the Christian tradition. In addition to his teaching appointments, Roberto has been invited to speak on the topics of liturgical design, sacred space, eco-theology, and the architectural response to the ecological crisis at universities, colleges, and conferences throughout North America and abroad.

He currently serves on the board of the Architectural, Culture, and Spirituality Forum, an international community of scholars and practitioners who believe that the design and experience of the built environment can assist the spiritual development of humanity in service of addressing the world’s most pressing issues. He also participated in the recent Critical Conversations Project, a joint collaboration between ACSF and the Centre for Theological Enquiry at Princeton University.


Dr Marilyn Hamilton:

Title: Nature's Non-local Design Voice.

Description: Marilyn tells a personal story about how Co-Creating With Nature - a founding principle of Ecovillage Findhorn - impacts the life of the community. It shows how "Nature is part of the design and culture of the village" and has a powerful Voice that can guide design and care.

Bio: Dr. Marilyn Hamilton is Co-Founder of Living Cities.Earth and Founder of Integral City Meshworks. She is the author of the Integral City Book Series and Tales of the CROFT Regenerators Novella series. She is co-designer of the course Cities Rising for Regenerative World & curator of Urban Hub 20, City Change in a VUCA World (English and Spanish).

Marilyn serves cities and ecoregions as Gaia’s Reflective Organs. Inspired by the Gaia Code of Care for Self, Others, Place and Planet, she is co-designer of the Master of Regenerative Action degree. She is or was CEO, COO, CFO and CIO in the private & Not-for-Profit sectors. She is an Evolutionary Leader, a researcher and a member of the Integral Europe Academic Consortium and Global Accreditation Council and is a Findhorn Fellow. She has served as Fellow for Urban Arena Europe Fellow and Ambassador for World Unity Week.

An international keynote speaker, and faculty of Ubiquity University and Royal Roads University School of Leadership, plus several other Universities, Marilyn designs, delivers and supervises “pracademic” courses. These build capacity for the wellbeing of 4 archetypal Voices of the City: Citizens, City Managers, Business/Innovators, 3rd Sector/Civil Society. She has worked and travelled internationally in many countries, cities and organizations in most sectors.

Currently Marilyn is really passionate about creating Living Cities Earthlings who co-create cities that “human well”. The initiatives of this emerging international consortium called Living Cities.Earth are aimed at igniting aliveness in 10,000 Cities reconnecting them to our Living Earth to enable City Regeneration Hubs and Cities of Peace.

Marilyn lives in Findhorn Ecovillage Scotland (where she returned to the land of her ancestors from British Columbia, Canada in 2018).


Thomas Barrie FAIA:

Title: Engaged, Ethical Architectural Education.

Description: This presentation focusses on engaged architectural education and the capacity and responsibilities of universities to apply research and design excellence to issues such as affordable housing, cultural and environmental sustainability, and meaningful placemaking. Frameworks for ethical practices are summarized illustrated by case-study projects from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative at North Carolina State University. Addressing critical issues, considering who is most served by architectural and built environment projects and who is harmed, and envisioning solutions that exceed isolated problems, are presented as ethical practices. They are also aligned with “engaged spirituality,” which emphasizes developing one’s character (virtue ethics) while serving others for the common good (duty ethics), and comprising practices centered on effecting social change (social contract ethics).

Bio: Thomas Barrie, FAIA, DPACSA is a Professor of Architecture at North Carolina State University. His scholarship focuses on the symbolism, ritual use, and cultural significance of architecture and he has published and lectured extensively in his subject areas. His most recent book is Architecture of the World’s Major Religions: An Essay on Themes, Differences, and Similarities (Brill, 2020). He directs the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Initiative at North Carolina State University, and chairs the Board of Directors of the Architecture, Culture, and Spirituality Forum. Professor Barrie is an award-winning architect, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Distinguished Professor, and a member of the NC State Academy of Outstanding Faculty in Extension and Engagement.


An archive recording will be made for the EICSP archive.

NB: There will be no refund if you cancel your booking.


Architecture, Design, and Culture


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Here are the bank transfer details:

Account Name: Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace
Bank Address: Edinburgh Royal Mile Branch
Account Number: 06131159
Sort Code: 802000

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GB70 BOFS 8020 0006 1311 59

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Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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