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Introduction By Nader Ardalan & Phillip Tabb, Guest Editors

By May 29, 2021May 2nd, 2022No Comments

Guest Editors Biography:

Published in 2A Magazine Issue #17 – Spring 2011

Nader Ardalan
President of Ardalan Associates

Nader Ardalan, President of Ardalan Associates, is an architect of international recognition, awarded for his ecologically sensitive and culturally relevant design approach. He is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he co-directs the “Gulf Encyclopedia for Sustainable Design”, sponsored by Dohaland, a subsidiary of the Qatar Foundation. This multi-year, multi-disciplinary research project explores sustainable design strategies for the eight countries surrounding the Gulf Region related to environmentally adaptive, socio-culturally relevant and economically feasible new urbanism in the region.

He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Masters in Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

He led international design and operations at Boston’s Jung/Brannen Associates (1983-94) during which time he won several international design competitions, including the ADMA/OPCO Oil Company Headquarters in Abu Dhabi. He then served for twelve years as Director of Design at KEO International Consultants in the Gulf Region and designed major academic, residential, hospitality and commercial projects that have been built. He was a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. He is the co-author of “The Sense of Unity”, published by Chicago University Press; “New Arab Urbanism” published by Harvard Kennedy School Middle East Initiative and several other publications. He is a registered consultant with the World Bank, active in several professional societies and serves on numerous international design competition juries, including serving as the 2008 Jury President for the Saudi Aramco Cultural Center in Dhahran.

He has held the position of Visiting Professor of Design at Harvard, Yale and MIT. He lectures widely in international conferences and universities. He has been written about in Who’s Who in the World, International Architects, Architectural Review, National Geographic, Newsweek, L’Architecture D’aujourd’Hui, Cityscape Intelligence Magazine, 2A Architecture & Art, Urban Space and other publications.

Phillip James Tabb, Ph.D.
Architect and Professor of Architecture

Phillip Tabb is Professor of Architecture at Texas A&M University where he served as Head of the Department from 2001-2005, and was Director of the School of Architecture and Construction Management at Washington State University from 1998-2001. In the late 1960’s he worked for Walter Netsch at SOM in Chicago and was exposed to his Field Theory. He worked with Keith Critchlow and taught sacred drawing in the Kairos School of Sacred Architecture (1986-1987), at Dar al Islam in Abiquiu, New Mexico (1988-1989), and at Naropa Institute, Boulder (1996). McGraw-Hill published his book, Solar Energy Planning, in 1984. Since 2001, Dr. Tabb is the masterplan architect for Serenbe Community – a sacred and sustainable community being realized near Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Tabb is a founding fellow of the Sustainable Urbanism Certificate Program at Texas A&M University. He has taught architectural and urban design studios at the University of Colorado, Arizona State University, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, the Architectural Association, and Texas A&M University. He frequently teaches at the Santa Chiara Study Center in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Cincinnati, Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado, and Ph.D. from the Architectural Association in London. Dr. Tabb is a licensed architect, has been a long time member of the American Institute of Architects, and holds a NCARB Certificate.


By Nader Ardalan & Phillip Tabb, Guest Editors

This Issue 17 of 2A Architecture & Art Magazine features 20 articles presented at the 2010 symposium hosted at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota by the Forum for Architecture, Culture and Spirituality, and related essays and articles on design. The idea that there are beautiful places in the world, that magic still exists, that there are special moments we can share, and that which is sacred finds expression in our lives, was the inspiration for this symposium. It was organized along three key lines – spiritual theory and philosophies, important worldwide precedent studies, and the actual contemporary practice of the spiritual in design. Through this issue you will find focus on transcendent, diverse aspects of culture and architecture, which serve to establish connections between the poetic and mystical, the inspirational and numinous, and the beautifully pragmatic and sacred built works. The resolutions to these values and aesthetic questions remain elusive, and they provide the impetus and profound and enigmatic quest for the answers that will touch the individual soul and collective humanity.

In this issue, Patrick Quinn introduces the readers to the why the Symposium on the Spiritual in Design is so critical in today’s world, especially to the artist and architect. He describes the context, the rhythm of the sessions and provides a synopsis of the contributing essays. Jennifer Yoos of VJAA Architects, the architect of the guest house where the Symposium was held, follows by defining the Place making challenge they faced and how they successfully sought to creatively resolve their design mandate.

The ACS papers then unfold focused upon three critical themes of theory, precedence and practice. As in the trigram of Heaven, Man and Earth, these areas represent a full complement of concerns and inspiring insights woven together into a tapestry of scholarly investigations.
Lead essays commence each of the three themes. Nader Ardalan concludes the articles with an Epilogue that reflects upon possible lessons to be learned and where such discourses on design thinking may take us.

The Forum for Architecture, Culture and Spirituality is an international scholarly environment established in 2007 to support advanced architectural and interdisciplinary scholarship, research practice, and education on the significance phenomenal experience and deeper meanings to be found in the built environment. Its activities include web-based information resources, networking and discussion groups, conferences and symposia, and publications. The Inaugural ACS Symposium was held March, 2009 at the Mt. Angel Abbey, Salem, Oregon (where only one of two Alvar Alto buildings in the US exists). The second ACS Symposium was held June 17-18, 2010 at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota (where the masterplan and Abbey Church were designed by Marcel Breuer). The third symposium is planned for June 29-July1, 2011 at the new sustainable Serenbe Community near Atlanta, Georgia (designed by Phillip Tabb). For more information, visit the ACS Forum web site at