Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Healing Space: New Architecture for an Emerging Culture

This is the first in a series of imagination design projects. It presents a new architecture for the new consciousness emerging in the 21st century. In this design approach, I draw upon ancient wisdom used to design sacred places for thousands of years. At the same time, it reflects innovative technologies that integrate mind, body, soul and nature. One of the core tasks of our time is mending the world broken by dualistic thinking in the scientific age. Splitting life into human and natural, science and art, money and soul has created an unworkable planet. Mending the rift involves reweaving the torn fabric of the earth. With this in mind, the first design of the new architecture is a place for personal renewal and revitalization.
In life, most of us are wounded by illness, the death of a loved one, heartbreak or other incident. If this happens, we often long for a safe place to let go and allow the organic processes of nature and consciousness to mend the shattered circle of our lives. Yet, few places receive mind and body simply. Usually, we are pressured toward a quick cure. Yet, ignoring the soul’s true needs leaves us with an empty image of wholeness. Hidden wounds go untended and genuine balance is never regained. HEALING SPACE explores a design that invites the innate wisdom of the psyche to discover its unique path to remembering wholeness.

(1) DEPARTURE THRESHOLD The threshold to HEALING SPACE is a jagged gap. It recalls the wounding incident that shatters lives. Pausing at this threshold gap, the power of the wounding force is fully met. Within the watery gash a circular steppingstone offers support for crossing. (2) DESCENT Stone steps lead into the earth, toward the womb of healing. Through downward movement, mind and body surrender to gravity’s pull toward a grounded core. (3) PASSAGE THROUGH CONFLICT At the bottom of the steps, two pillars frame a portal to the paradox of healing. The pillar on the right is carved with images of rebirth such as the sun, flowers and fruit. On the left, a waning crescent moon, withering plants and other images depict the decay, death and release, clearing the way for healing. (4) SURRENDER Passage between the Twin Pillars of Healing leads to an underground womb space. Floor paving depicts a giant serpent, an image of shedding what is worn and dead to reveal what is fresh and vital. Niches within the walls of the circular space provide pockets for surrendering what will clear the way for healing—broken beliefs, emotions, relationships to name a few. (5) PURIFICATION At the center of the space is a pool of warm water. Recessed below the surrounding floor, the pool creates a fluid place where rigid limitations can dissolve and flow into new patterns. (6) SLEEP & DREAMS To the east of the Purifying Pool is a place for resting and dreaming. A bed provides a safe, comfortable place to let go completely and settle in the depths of healing. (7) BURNING Fire is a primal force in cleansing what cannot be washed away or released through rest. A brazier provides a place for symbolically burning away obstacles healing and to transforming dense, dead matter into radiant energy. (8)VISION Release and deep rest clear the way for renewed visions of dwelling in wholeness. West of the central pool, a raised platform offers a place to meditate and cognize healing forms emerging from spacious silence. (9) EMERGENCE Rested and energized by visions of fresh possibilities, the Emergence Portal frames a return from the dark womb of healing. Similar to the Devouring Portal, twin pillars depict images of anticipation and trepidation. (10) ASCENDING From the Emergence Portal, a flight of steps ascends from the inward perspective of the underground space to the broader view at ground level.

The spectrum of healing includes assimilation and restorative play. This space provides varied opportunities for discovering patterns wanting to be expressed as well as integrating the knowledge of healing. (11) BODY/MIND An area for strengthening the body in connection to the mind through yoga and exercise. (12) CREATIVITY A work surface supports writing, drawing and other artistic exploration. (13) INTEGRATING STORIES A library books relating stories from world cultures about the human journey through healing transformation. A video monitor is provided for watching inspiring and funny stories that encourage healing. (14) NOURISHING A place to site and absorb beautiful melodies, forms, colors, tastes and fragrances of nature. 15) BETWEEN EARTH & SKY Openings in the floor and ceiling connect to the water and darkness below and the sunlight and rain from above.


Complete healing includes connecting to the totality of earth and the heavens. The roof of Healing Space offers a place to connect the healing of the body, mind and soul with the wholeness of cosmic spirit. (16) ASCENDING Steps lead from the earth’s boundaries and shadows to the sky’s expansion and light. (17) POLE STARAt the apex of the ascent, a stainless steel instrument, tilted at an angle parallel to the earth’s axis, points toward the pole star. Orientation to this point about which the entire universe appears to rotate enlivens stability within change. (18) SKY VIEWING TERRACE A flat roof offers a platform for unobstructed views of the revitalizing patterns of the sun, moon and stars. Floor paving patterns indicate the direction of sunrises and sunsets on the summer and winter solstices and the equinoxes, marking seasonal transitions. (19) RETURN Steps descend to ground level. (20) REBIRTH Crossing the threshold of wholeness marks the return to world where healing can integrated into daily life.

Architecture by Anthony Lawlor


  1. To read about this space is a healing experience in itself. How I would love to move through such a structure! Your vision of a physical space that both represents and fosters a spiritual journey is simply magnificent.

  2. This is absolutely fabulous... Donna, TIFERET Journal

  3. With immense gratitude for all you offer, I've shared some sunshine to light your visions, if you have a moment to take a look.

  4. This is an amazing design idea. I want to be in it and go through all the stages and return to the world renewed.

  5. All the invisibility of healing made visible. The journey to wholeness "brought to life" in texture and literal levels. This is absolutely brilliant.

  6. cindyschell@yahoo.comJuly 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM