Ramapo College, Salemeno Spiritual Center Mahwah, New Jersey

This non-denominational spiritual center is located on a site once considered a sacred Native American meeting place, or "Mahwah" as the Ramapough Indians called it.

  • Location

    Mahwah, New Jersey

  • Sector


  • Service


  • Client

    Ramapo College of New Jersey

  • Status


  • Size

    1,500 SF

The center provides places for students and staff to gather in formal group service and also allows for the quiet solitude of individual meditation and contemplation. The larger “peace pavilion” holds up to eighty people. Two identical, smaller chapel-like pavilions accommodate up to three people in an intimate, serene space. The three structures are nestled among gardens and lay adjacent to a tranquil pond, providing a special setting for all to explore their spiritual interests. 

The center’s design is a testament to the acceptance of varied spiritual beliefs and multicultural openness. The faceted exterior of the main space is evocative of an ancient tent, a space hospitable to personal contemplation. Narrow bands of glass wrap the sides of the structure providing framed views of the pastoral setting.

A north-facing clerestory provides illumination during the day or a glimpse of stars at night. The smaller, crescent moon-shaped pavilions are bathed in light and have windows looking out to a pond. The inviting spaces provide a sanctuary from campus life where people of all faiths can gather and feel inspired.