The Visioning Spaces Story

Scottish Architect Harman Scott explains the story behind his Visioning Spaces concept.

It is 1997 and I am in Toronto visiting my cousin, who is Canadian. Our conversation in due course turns to spiritual matters, which we find we are both very interested in. She shares that she has a gift, to connect with the archangel Michael. She demonstrates this in a session in which I ask questions and answers are received from him through her voicing these answers. There are many topics covered and information is revealed about my life that my cousin cannot possibly know anything about. I have met her very few times.

One revelation is that I will in the future be involved in creating places for peace and healing, in America and maybe also Europe. This comes as a great surprise to me. I have no idea what this can mean. I ask my cousin for more detail and she is shown a hard-to-define image of a building with stained glass, but no more details. This experience is carried with me for several more years, and from time to time I feel the deep need to address it.

It is now 2011 and I am seeking a more focused path in life, and an answer to what my right work is. A vision of a building immediately follows. It is single storey, seven sloping sides, with an arch window to each side, and a narrow spire of light is projecting upwards, narrowing further as it rises, and   beyond my line of vision.

Over the next several years I occasionally draw and develop images of what I saw that day, still as clear as the moment I saw it. The sketches help me to understand the concept better. One day while drawing, the ‘penny drops’ and I eventually make the connection with that meeting with my cousin in 1997. However, I still do not know what to do with this realisation.


The first sketch.
The rather heavy glazed pointed tower is an architectural interpretation, that I later correct as being erroneous and not true to the original vision.

In this first section drawing, I am exploring what is happening inside the building

Seven Sided Designs

A sketch model, to help me feel what I now call ‘Visioning Spaces’ in 3D, although the tower of light is still too wide at the base.

Seven Sided Sanctuary

In my vision the tower might have simply been a beam of light.

Still exploring this, I stick to a physical tower structure for now, and make it an internally-lit 7-sided glass obelisk.

Is this what it is meant to be? I am not sure yet.

Time will tell.

Visioning Spaces purpose? In sketching, it feels like a place of contemplation and healing. However, there are thousands of these already. What is different about this one? I ask myself. I feel: ‘The answer will come in due course’

What is the setting for Visioning Spaces? I know it is to be accessible to everyone, hence exploring it being in a downtown square. By drawing I become clearer that Visioning Spaces is a sanctuary building, surrounded by healing gardens and flowing water, and all is part of one whole.

Drawing by drawing, details seem to appear on the paper and the concept becomes clearer to me.

I draw this entrance, warm and welcoming, with a suggestion of stained glass.

I explore the interior further. The columns seem right initially. In discussing the purpose of the sanctuary with others I realise that the columns make the central area somehow more important than the perimeter, yet both are equally important. The columns also prevent it being an open flexible space for larger meetings.

Sanctuary Building

I remove the columns.
Later images show a reflecting, cleansing shallow pool of water in the centre.
The interior is a flexible space.

Returning to the question of where Visioning Spaces is located, Toronto is the right place.

It makes sense, with having first heard about the project when being in Toronto those many years ago.

It is now 2014, and I am asked to present ‘20 slides’ at a networking event in Perth, Scotland, on a subject I am passionate about and which does not relate to my day-to-day paid work as an architect.

I spend several months putting drawings and images together. This focuses my attention on the purpose and concept of Visioning Spaces. I now see it as a place where people can go to find peace and to explore their very own purpose in life.  

I make the first public presentation of Visioning Spaces in April 2015, at Perth College in Scotland. This is received with fascination by the audience and there is much discussion and enthusiasm. I meet a life coach who is keen to support me to bring Visioning Spaces closer to reality.

This encourages me to travel to Toronto to explore the possibilities.

Three weeks later, I am meeting community and interfaith groups in various parts of Toronto, which I discover has a very pluralistic society, and is truly receptive to the project concept, even though it is not intended singularly as an interfaith project.

From 2016-2018, I visit Toronto in total six times, for several weeks at a time, developing my understanding of the project, and talking to as many people and organisations as I can.

I am deeply grateful for the people who have become friends who accommodated me and drove me around, finding more and more people and organisations to talk to.

I build a model and prepare more images of how the sanctuary and healing gardens & parkland might look and feel.

I visit many different types of potential locations in Greater Toronto, and conclude that the ideal site is a re-purposed golf course. They are increasingly coming on the market, golf being in decline there. However, land cost within the Greater Toronto area, to keep it truly accessible to everyone, is still prohibitive.

It is now October 2018 and

I am sponsored to exhibit Visioning Spaces at the Parliament of Religions in Toronto.

It is creating much interest, with the most common reaction being that Visioning Spaces is really needed by the world right now. 

A common question is ‘Where is it?

The ideal site is a re-purposed golf course,

partially redeveloped to create an essential aspect of Visioning Spaces,

to have many commercial and social enterprises surrounding, supporting and being served by it.

Visioning Spaces

I return to Scotland to seek the future for Visioning Spaces. I follow up with the people I met in Toronto.

My wife Mirabelle Viviana becomes more interested in Visioning Spaces in her own right.

It is now 2021. We present the project to a wider group of people and a small and steady group forms around us for exchange and support. We discover that we can actually visit Visioning Spaces in an inner journey and guide others to visit too. Powerful insights emerge on these visits.

We have ongoing contact with two main contacts in Toronto via zoom.

It is now 2022 and we develop the website with a professional website designer.

This process reveals that the project develops in its own time and our role is to record and share it.

For the project to evolve and progress, we feel that besides spreading the word, we need to evolve and progress within ourselves.

It is now 2024.

We are working on bringing the idea of Visioning Spaces into our daily life.

We are working on increasing our curiosity in the process of bringing Visioning Spaces into physical reality and our courage to face what that presents to us.

Can you see Visioning Spaces coming into physical reality?

Please share your thoughts with us.

In this video, founder Harman Scott and supporters summarize the scope of the project for Toronto. 

Play Video

Perhaps you would like to complete your part of the Visioning Spaces story and visit it right now?