The Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service at Northeastern University houses a Sacred Space, a Reflection Room, and an area for ablution, private prayer and meditation. The spaces are built, literally, on the ashes of the university’s traditional Bacon Memorial Chapel that burned in the 1990s. All that remains of that building is one stained glass window in the hallway outside of these spaces.
Designed by Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehrani of Office dA and dedicated in 1998, the area was designed to be flexible and accessible to multiple religious-practitioners. The space orients east-west pointing towards both Mecca and Jerusalem. The Sacred Space is the largest area and is used regularly for worship, yoga, meditation, and interfaith events as well as private prayer and meditation. An area used by women for Muslim prayer has been carved out of one corner of the space. The Ablution Area adjacent has space for five people to wash (there is additional space in the women’s rest room down the hall) as well as a space men use for Muslim prayer. And the Reflection Room at the other end of the space provides an area for meetings and conversation central to this vital center.
“In a true university,” said David Hall, Provost and Professor of Law at the dedication of the space, “we choose to respect and love those whose religious practices are different and sometimes in conflict with ours. This sacred space symbolizes our need to embrace the multiplicity that exists within the oneness. If we could do that in all aspects of our lives, then this university, this society and this world could reach its full potential.”
In 2002, the Multifaith Center was awarded the prestigious Harleston Parker Medal, presented by the Boston Society of Architects to "the single most beautiful building or other structure" built in metropolitan Boston in the previous 10 years.
The Multifaith Center is in constant use during the academic year. A Hillel House, Chabad House and Catholic Center provide additional sacred spaces on the campus.
For more information: http://www.northeastern.edu/spirituallife/