The Return of Sacred Architecture: The Golden Ratio and the End of Modernism

Excerpts & Samples

By Herbert Bangs

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Herbert Bangs

Herbert Bangs
Herbert Bangs was a designer for R. R. Buckminster Fuller’s architectural firm, Geodesics, and was the Baltimore County architect and principal master planner. He and his wife live in a solar home he designed and built in Ruxton, Maryland.



An inspirational call for a return to the tenets of traditional architecture as a remedy for the dehumanizing standards of modern architecture

• Explains how modern architecture is emblematic of our current estrangement from the spiritual principles that shaped humanity’s greatest civilizations

• Reveals how the ancient laws of sacred proportion and harmony can be restored

The ugly buildings that characterize the modern landscape are inferior not only to the great cathedrals of medieval Europe and the temples of ancient Egypt and Greece, but even to lesser buildings of the more recent past. The great masterworks of our ancestors spoke to humanity’s higher nature. Architect Herbert Bangs reveals how today’s dysfunctional buildings bring out the worst in humanity, reinforcing that which is most base within us. He shows how, through the ancient laws of proportion and number, architecture once expressed the harmonious relationship between man and the cosmos. In early times, the architect worked within a sacred and esoteric tradition of creating structures through which human beings could gain insight into the nature of the divine reality. Today, that tradition has been abandoned in favor of narrowly defined utilitarian principles of efficiency and economy.

In The Return of Sacred Architecture, Bangs provides the key to freeing architecture from the crude functionality of the twentieth century: the architects of the modern human landscape must find the deep-felt connection to the cosmos that guided the inner lives of those who built the temples of the past. The form of their buildings will then reflect the sacred patterns of geometry and proportion and bring forth greater harmony in the world.
“. . . an excellent and precisely timed work that is encompassing, mature, and presented not only with sound reasoning but depth of feeling.”
Robert Lawlor, author of Sacred Geometry

“This book deserves to be on every architect’s bookshelf. It demonstrates that much of modern architecture has become divorced from the principles of proportion used by almost all important buildings in historical times.”
Robin Heath, author of Sun, Moon, and Stonehenge

“A superb clarion call for a restoration of beauty, integrity, and above all, sanity in modern architecture.”
Richard Smoley, author of Forbidden Faith

“This brave and perceptive work explores the debacle of modern architecture and points the way to a healthier new architecture, based on proportion and sacred principles, which reveres ecology and the cosmos.”
A. T. Mann, author of Sacred Architecture

“. . . captures truths that we intuitively know, but haven’t the training and background to articulate and illustrate as fully as is done in this fine work.” 
Mitch Horowitz, Exectutive Editor at Tarcher/Penguin

“This is a significant and important book that expresses the perennial wisdom that has been the basis of covert mystery school teachings throughout the ages. It is most pertinent for society at large as well as all students of the Arts and Architecture who are searching for the knowledge, understanding, and meaning of Plato’s concepts of Goodness, Beauty, and Truth.”
Thomas Saunders, Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and author of The Broiled Frog Syndrome: Your Health and the Built Environment

There are a few books that everyone should read, regardless of their discipline or degree of interest in esotericism--[This book] is one of them. . . . End the madness of modernity. Buy this book, give it away to everyone you know, and hope, pray, that its seeds will take root, and one day we can begin to build a world that reflects our vision of heaven as did our ancestors.
Mark Stavish, Institute for Hermetic Studies, 1/15/07

"Herbert Bangs brings extraordinary insights into his scholarly yet impassioned exploration of sacred architecture. . . . THE RETURN OF SACRED ARCHITECTURE is a clarion call for adopting a more intuitive approach to design and a better appreciation for the sources of divine inspiration. I give this book my highest recommendation."
Cynthia Larsen,, April 2007

"The thesis is well presented, enhanced by numerous illustrations and examples and enlivened by personal glimpses of leading designers and architects. Such clear-sighted candor and spiritual solutions are overdue, refreshing, and very encouraging."
Light of Consciousness, Summer 2008