Elon University: Numen Lumen Multi-Faith Center

Project Description

Numen Lumen Center is a multi-faith worship and learning building at Elon University. The Numen Lumen Center supports all religions and levels of spirituality for Elon’s diverse student body.

Awards

  • Merit Award – Associated Builders and Contractors, 2012

Project Details

  • Client Elon University
  • Location Elon, NC View map
  • Sq. ft. 15,058
  • Completed 2013

Numen Lumen Center is a multi-faith worship and learning building at Elon University. The Numen Lumen Center supports all religions and levels of spirituality for Elon’s diverse student body. Elon’s University motto, Numen Lumen, means spiritual and intellectual light and represents the academic transformation of the body, mind, and spirit envisioned by the University’s founders. These deeply-held principles informed the design team’s decisions at every step of the project process.

The…

Numen Lumen Center is a multi-faith worship and learning building at Elon University. The Numen Lumen Center supports all religions and levels of spirituality for Elon’s diverse student body. Elon’s University motto, Numen Lumen, means spiritual and intellectual light and represents the academic transformation of the body, mind, and spirit envisioned by the University’s founders. These deeply-held principles informed the design team’s decisions at every step of the project process.

The Numen Lumen Center, which anchors Elon’s main quadrangle, is the spiritual heart of campus. Its location promotes diversity and a focus on Numen Lumen in all things. The Center was required to utilize the same Jeffersonian architectural language as its neighboring buildings within the existing quad, which presented a challenge to the design team. The project’s footprint and exterior shell mimic the surrounding quad, but the programmatic changes required a careful weighing of this prototypical language against new and very different requirements.

Inside the Center, a variety of space types allow users to connect in spiritual diversity and understanding. At every turn, the team pursued the project’s main goal of creating a space for religious dialogue and discovery. Although the building references the pervading campus architectural language, its materials and sequences create a feeling of spirituality and sacredness. The Numen Lumen Center’s main spaces integrate traditionally revered materials, such as Jerusalem limestone and site-harvested Oak, as well as a gentle water feature to further heighten the user experience.

The main worship space, termed the Sacred Space, breaks down the traditional hierarchical barriers between “congregation” and “leader;” its round shape represents unity and the inclusive nature of Numen Lumen while its soaring two-story windows and abundance of natural light are a more literal node to “spiritual and intellectual light.” The Sacred Space opens directly into an expansive multi-purpose room, ideal for larger gatherings and designed to adapt to many styles of worship. Complementary support spaces, classrooms, and prayer rooms stimulate the study of intellectual and spiritual tradition and promote greater understanding of the world cultures represented at Elon.

The architecture for Numen Lumen, like the architecture of Elon’s entire campus, is a nod to the great southern architectural tradition of Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia. The building’s exterior references this academic precedent but expounds upon it, utilizing local and natural materials that are uniquely Elon. Further, the Center has helped to propel Elon into the new architectural tradition of sustainability. The Center’s LEED Silver Certification demonstrates Elon’s continuing commitment to environmental stewardship as well as a sacred responsibility to conserve natural resources that lies very much in line with the Numen Lumen Center’s spiritual awareness. Through a thoughtful and responsible design approach, the Numen Lumen Center promotes the values of interfaith collaboration and unites Elon’s students in their common humanity.

Award Merit Award – Associated Builders and Contractors, 2012

Project Elon University: Numen Lumen Multi-Faith Center

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