St. Theodosius
  • St. Theodosius

Form, Function, and Faith

Grade Level: 
Student Level: 
Middle School

This program lets students explore the relationship between building form and function by focusing on three Cleveland-area historic houses of worship: St. Theodosius, an Orthodox Church; Temple Tifereth Israel, a synagogue; and the Kirtland Temple, a 19th-century Community of Christ (Latter Day Saints) Church. Through extensive interactivity students are introduced to architectural history and to the use of geometry and mathematics in order to understand how these buildings compare in their design. An accompanying Teacher Information Packet concentrates on architectural functional morphology, diversity, neighborhood characteristics, and data sources.

Co-developed by the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland State University's Center for Sacred Landmarks, the American Institute of Architects (Cleveland Chapter), and the Lake County ESC.

Program Format: 
  • Introduce first building, Kirtland Temple.
  • Analyze the architectural forms and identify the geometric shapes, including use of the Golden Section and the Fibonnacci Series.
  • Compare the two floorplans.
  • Introduce second building, St. Theodosius.
  • Describe the architectural elements, giving background on church history.
  • Introduce third building, Temple Tifereth Israel, and follow analysis as in second.
  • Students will explore the relationship between building form and function and be introduced to the concept of functional morphology-that the building takes shape based on its intended use.
  • Students will discover and compare three historic sacred landmarks, which focuses the lesson on diversity of design and diversity of worship traditions.
  • Students will be introduced to reading architectural plans and will participate in interactivity during the videoconference in which they follow a floor plan while viewing the building it represents.
  • Students will be introduced to the concept of sacred geometry.