How to Build a Temple in 10 Days

An innovative program encourages students to design and build culturally appropriate architecture

Eight-and-a-half days is barely enough time for most people to get over jet lag when traveling, but for a group of nine students from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., it's a period of intense work in far-flung locations such as Nepal, Machu Pichu, or Ireland. Through a program called Spirit of Place/Spirit of Design, taught by architect Travis Price, the students come to these exotic settings ready to build a project they've spent the spring semester designing. The small structure they erect—whether a temple, a pilgrimage shelter, a sweat lodge, or an outhouse—does not just add to the startling beauty of its locale; it taps into and expresses the location's culture through architecture's symbolism.

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