If any place could use a little peace and quiet, it’s the nation’s capital.
Architecture students at The Catholic University of America are seeing their design efforts come to life through a project to build a modern-day hermitage in the middle of Washington, D.C.
William Jelen, director of the collaborative project, called the experience “one of the best teaching tools there is,” explaining that he had no idea what a modern-day hermitage would be like.
He said that the design emphasized “the relationship of the sacred with the profane” and was intended to show that “each moment in our lives can be an opportunity for sacred appreciation and meditation.”
Amid the busy backdrop of northeast D.C., the students witnessed the construction of a building that will one day allow for quiet prayer and contemplation.
When it is completed, the 350-square-foot structure will provide a silent and solitary space where a single person can reside for either long or short periods of time.
The hermitage will contain a sleeping area and restroom, as well as a kitchenette, deck and garden.
The design, which won the 2010 Unbuilt Award from the American Institute of Architects in D.C., will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will also be environmentally sustainable, making use of a ground source heat pump, natural ventilation and floorboards of recycled lumber.
The hermitage is scheduled to be finished in July, and three more will be built at a later date.