What is a church or temple? It is a place of worship, spirit, contemplation, of course. But above all, from a human point of view, it is a gateway. A person comes into the world through the church. They leave it through the church. And, at each of the important thresholds of their life, they once again step through the church.


In each community and neighborhood, identify some sacred site as consecrated ground, and form a series of nested precincts, each marked by a gateway, each one progressively more private, and more sacred than the last, the innermost a final sanctum that can only be reached by passing through all of the outer ones.

… we have defined the need for a full life cycle, with rites of passage between stages of the cycle - Life Cycle (26); and we have recommended that certain pieces of land be set aside because of their importance and meaning - Sacred Sites (24). This pattern gives the detailed organization of the space around these places. The organization is so powerful, that to some extent it can itself create the sacredness of sites, perhaps even encourage the slow emergence of coherent rites of passage.

At each threshold between precincts build a gate - Main Gateways (53) - at each gate, a place to pause with a new view toward the next most inner place - Zen View (134) and at the innermost sanctum, something very quiet and able to inspire - perhaps a view, or no more than a simple tree, or pool - Pools and Streams (64), Tree Places (171)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 331medium-confidence