A House for the Families of Abraham: A Multi-Faith Community Center for Interfaith Dialogue

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Virginia Tech

Religion has the ability to bring a diversity of people together in a way that crosses political, social, and economic boundaries, but divides them through conflicting worship practices, rituals, and teachings. This is especially true with the three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The unique aspect to the Abrahamic religions is that they all claim Abraham as a common ancestor. Unfortunately, over the two millennia since the founding of these religions, interpretations of each religious text has drastically divided the three religions. Guy Stroumsa, Professor Emeritus of the Study of Abrahamic Religions at the University of Oxford, states that after such a long time the "Jewish Avraham is no more the Christian Abraham than the latter is the Islamic Ibrahim… and there is more than one Jewish (or Christian, or Muslim) Abraham."

This project is designed to create a multi-faith building that crosses the religious divides in the Abrahamic faiths and encourages inter-faith dialogue by looking at commonly used ritualistic items. Three basic items - water, a meal, and the scripture – all hold reverence in all three religions, but each religion has its own unique rituals and traditions surrounding them. This building attempts to express the similarities and differences through the built environment in a way that increases communication and understanding between the religions and the surrounding community.

Architecture, Religion, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Multi-Faith, Inter-Faith