The Missing Dimension in the Built Environment

How to Cite

Zrudlo, L. “The Missing Dimension in the Built Environment: A Challenge for the 21st Century”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, Mar. 1990, pp. 49-66, doi:10.31581/jbs-3.1.4(1990).


This article addresses architects, planners, and developers but should also interest any other professionals involved in the creation of the built environment. It begins by stating that the built environment is principally made up of buildings and groupings of buildings. Therefore, architecture and urban design are the major focus of the article. Definitions of architecture are then presented from a variety of authors and architects. An argument is made that there actually is a missing dimension in the built environment illustrated by quotations from architects, architectural theorists, amid critics. It becomes evident that architecture is unable to satisfy the emotional and aesthetic needs of people and also that the profession itself, which admits that modern architecture has created bleak and insensitive environments, is in profound disagreement on how to rectify the situation. Under the heading “Architecture–The Object” arguments for and against different architectural movements or stylistic tendencies are highlighted by quotations from the proponents of tile various styles and theories. A similar approach is taken for cities under the heading “Urban Design–The Juxtaposition of Objects.” The fact that something is missing from architectural and city design is concluded, and examples of a preoccupation for the spiritual aspect of architecture and urban design are used to illustrate this growing concern for a dimension that has been much neglected in tile previous several decades. The notion of “spiritual” is then defined, followed by a list of spiritual qualities. Two important principles, unity in diversity and consultation are discussed before presenting some concluding thoughts on how the designers of the built environment can begin finding ways of infusing their designs with a spiritual dimension.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you wish to adapt, remix, transform, or build upon this work in any way, you may not distribute your work without first contacting the Editor for permission.

Copyright © 1990 Leo R. Zrudlo