michael jantzen

michael jantzen

Santa Fe, NM, US


The Spiritual Center of the Earth

The Spiritual Center of the Earth

A Conceptual Design approach proposal for the rehab of the SIUE Religious Center

By Michael Jantzen © 2005

In my proposal for a design approach for the rehab of the Religious Center at SIUE, I am envisioning a large steel umbrella frame (resembling a kind of spiritual antenna) built under the existing geodesic sphere. This frame (partially clad with perforated metal) could simply be placed over the existing building with additional space requirements constructed under it. My preference, however, would be to reconstruct an entirely new facility under the frame that would be designed so that future space requirements could easily be added. In addition, the new structure would be designed so that most of the interior and exterior space under the frame could easily be rearranged to accommodate changing needs. This could be done by the creation of sliding panels that would move freely along the grid lines to form different kinds of spaces.

The umbrella frame would radiate out from the center sphere in all directions as it flows into the surrounding landscape. At the perimeter of the umbrella, the interior spaces merge with the exterior and they can be opened up or closed down to accommodate changing weather conditions. The perimeter area of the structure that meets the landscape would be developed into various contemplative gardens. Some of these gardens would actually migrate into the structure to be enjoyed year round.

The umbrella frame would also support a large array of photovoltaic cells that would provide all or some of the electricity and heating requirements for the center. Perhaps some of the power requirements could also be supplied by ethanol, so that the center could be completely energy autonomous.

The umbrella frame would also function as kind of a valve that would regulate various energy requirements for the interior of the structure. As an example, some sections of the frame might open and/or close to control the amount daylight entering the interior through various skylights. These same panels could also control passive solar heating and/ or cooling.

The flexible design of the center would accommodate a wide range of functions throughout many years into the future.

In addition to the physical functions of the building, I would like to propose a number of conceptual art based ideas which could be integrated into the structure in order to increase the symbolic function of the center as well. As an example, I think that the World Wide Web should play a major roll in the symbolic and physical functions of the center. One such conceptual based Internet art addition to the center might be to install lights onto the inside of the globe. These lights would indicate, in real time, from where in the world, and roughly how many people, are accessing the centers web site at any given time. This in itself could become a world-known symbol for the potential unity of all people who live on Space Ship Earth.

In general, I see my design as a symbolic compliment to the memory of Buckminster Fuller’s original concept for the Religious Center. My addition would help to make this a world known temple to the future of humanity.

Michael Jantzen

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Status: Unbuilt