Anthony Lawlor

Anthony Lawlor

(Architect and Author)







THE ARCHITECTURE OF TRANSFORMATIONAL STORIES: Portals, Paths and Places as Primal Powers in the Life-Death-Life Plot

Setting is vital to great storytelling. From the moment a character is born, the arc of his or her journey travels through architecture. Along the way, each detail in the surroundings can hide or reveal the deeper currents of a character’s hopes and fears, obstacles and breakthroughs. Most authors sense the importance of location and style in shaping the qualities of a story. Few know the details of using architecture to forcefully convey a character’s inner struggles and awakenings.

This presentation shares the role architecture plays in telling inspiring stories. It gives audiences knowledge about using the archetypal pattern of portal-path-place to narrate elusive twists and turns in consciousness. Participants will learn how a simple doorway can express the desires and trepidations of threshold crossing and the ways it can conceal and divulge mysteries and key insights of character revelation. In addition, they will learn how to employ the primal design of steeple-and-sanctuary to spark a story’s inciting incident, enrich the unfolding of plot and supercharge climax and resolution.

Architecture has been a key player in the story of the human journey for thousands of years. From temples to office towers, cathedrals to cafes, the relationship between form and space, matter and light, have been used to call us through the constricting boundaries of daily existence into expansive reveries and liberating wisdom. Whether they told their tales against the backdrop of ancient cave paintings or currently speak through the latest digital technology, storytellers use architecture to support their characters’ motives, present them with compelling dilemmas, and open them to life-changing breakthroughs. Story surroundings reveal a character’s relationship with oneself, other individuals, society, nature and universal forces.

With this timeless knowledge, The Architecture of Transformational Stories offers specific ways to make architecture an ally in telling stories that use the visible to express invisible revelations and tangible forms to speak the elusive language of conscious transformation.


Anthony Lawlor is an architect and author whose work focuses on the relationship between architecture and transformation. His books A Home for the Soul and The Temple in the House describe how buildings and cities serve as allies in deepening conscious experience in daily life. Anthony’s recent book 24 Patterns of Wisdom, in turn, explores visual diagrams depicting how the architecture of consciousness can assist us in navigating the challenges and awakenings of the human journey. His documentary, THE LIVING TEMPLE: A Journey Through World Sacred Places, illustrates the shared archetypal patterns of design and iconography that underlie the architecture of cathedrals, temples, mosques, stupas and other holy places around the globe.

During 30 years of architectural practice Anthony has received awards for excellence in design from the American Institute of Architects and Interior Design Magazine. His work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, National Public Radio and numerous other national media. He received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley with a thesis describing how sunlight shapes architecture. He has taught at the Pacifica Graduate Institute, the C.G. Jung Institutes of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The American Institute of Architects New York, The Graham Foundation Chicago, Esalen Institute, Naropa Institute, The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, and numerous other institutions.

Why I support GATE

The world is passing through monumental transformations and entertainment is powerfully shaping this change. GATE is playing a vital role in guiding this shift toward an enlightened and inspiring planet. I fully support GATE’s crucial work in creating consciousness-based worldviews for the Earth’s audiences.

My Current Media Diet

Movies: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Moonrise Kingdom, The Late Quartet
TV: Touch
Books: The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram, The Book of Illusion by Paul Auster, The Red Book by C.G. Jung


“Architecture is a vessel for story-making. When we experience this, the world is no longer divided into the duality of inner and outer. Every place becomes holy.” —Lynda Sexson
“And “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” —Aristotle