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SUPERORDINARY! New Paradigms in Sacred Architecture

Looking at the terminology it is very hard to understand if the superordinary is an oxymoron in which the super opposes the ordinary, or it is the absolute opposite in which the superordinary determines the superlative of ordinary to its greatest degree in its ontological form. Although the etymology of what is considered “ordinary� relates to something normal with no special features, in the context of what we determine as superordinary they are anything but ordinary.

Andrew Potter / Benjamin Lebel / Elizabeth Biron / Elizabeth Quigley / Ian Robertson / James Jarzyniecki / Jennifer Wrynn / Kelly Quinn / Matthew DesSureault / Matthew Uminski / Michael DiSalvatore / Nicholas Ter Meer / Ross Lyons / Sean Hurley / Shannon Atherto / Sinead Weldon/ Whitney Allison framing by Antonio Petrov



The Meeting House


Moveable Pulpits & Tent Churches


Spaces For The Masses


What is the Superordinary?


Storefront Churches


The Drive-In Church


Evangelical’s Pavilion World Fair Billy Graham A Response to Culture


The Collage Church








INTRODUCTION by Antonio Petrov


“Some company recently was interested in buying my aura. They didn’t want my product. They kept saying, “We want your aura.” I never figured out what they wanted. But they were willing to pay a lot for it. So I thought if somebody was willing to pay that much for it, I should try to figure out what it is.” Andy Warhol, 1975 In evaluating the influence of religion in the public sphere today, we see that the pastoral landscape of nineteenth-century has maintained the broadest visible public presence. It acted as an active agent in the country’s social and cultural construction and played a fundamental role in the formation of American culture, including its architecture and art. However, the strong cultural presence of religion witnessed in nineteenth century shifted to a marginalization or non-presence in twentieth- and twenty-first century. This paradigmatic shift was a result of a scholarly resistance––towards both religion and religious architecture––that critically dismissed the subjects and resulted in assumptions that have shaped the critique of sacred architecture in American culture. Despite substantial evidence about the ways religion has shaped American culture and the arts, historians have neglected to explore this connection. Yet, the American (Protestant) church’s exponential growth in the twentieth century has turned it into an undeniable cultural and religious phenomenon that merits greater critical attention. This book titled: Superordinary!: New Paradigms in Sacred Architecture is based on a graduate research seminar taught in the spring semester of 2012 at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The material examines the aesthetic and material transformation of Protestant architecture and traces the emergence of new sacred architectural typologies in the United States. The argument begins with an account of the historic forms of Protestant churches and examines factors that led to their characteristic superordinary architecture. We located the genesis of this tradition in the Puritan meetinghouse, whose simple form radically repudiated the ideology and aesthetics of traditional, extraordinary religious architecture. The book argues that it is precisely this negation of the religious architecture of exception that has generated a succession of unique forms that culminate in the 20th century megachurch and the 21st century metachurch. This becomes very evident in the scholarly resistance towards religious art and architecture in the 20th century. The study of superordinary architecture is deeply entwined with extraordinary architecture; they are part of the same discourse, if not, one is needed to determine the other. One cannot exist without the other.


So what is the superordinary? Superordinary can be defined as the absence of something, something without identity, style or originality. Perhaps anything opposite of extraordinary, just on a super-scale? It is an oxymoron in which the super opposes the ordinary and determines the superlative of ordinary to its greatest degree in its ontological form. Although the etymology of “ordinary” relates to something normal with no special features, the superordinary is anything but ordinary. It is something that already exists and is so ordinary that it is familiar, however, it seeks to go beyond its ordinary characteristic by “concentrating all qualities of normality.” It is the ambivalence of superordinary, and its relation to sacred architecture that makes it an extremely interesting American phenomenon. Sacred buildings have historically been the highest form of building, in monumentality and their symbolic character. And when architects design them they don’t generally think of designing them ordinary. If anything, they fear of people saying their structures are not special. Architects always believe their structures are extraordinary, and this is especially true with religious architecture. In this book we examine how “reality” is manifested in New Paradigms in Sacred Architecture, and analyze how these spaces have developed own multivalent meanings rather than merely conveying the messages of others. We aim to establish a critical framework for evaluating the architectural and cultural significance of sacred architecture in the US. The seminar looked at the evolution of evangelical architecture––which is inseparable from the dynamism of American culture–– constantly inspiring a multitude of transformative processes that have intertwined religious traditions with cultural contexts and new architectural typologies. Our research traces the emergence of new sacred architectural typologies and develops positions arguing that postwar American Protestantism not only overcame the traditional signification of sacred architecture, but also its dichotomy of form and function, articulating new conditions of sacrality not bound to traditional manifestations in institutional frameworks. These perpetual processes of transformation led to a highly flexible church that not only completely obliterated the boundaries between secular and sacred, but also allowed for an unprecedented questioning of the relationship between materiality and “reality” to take place. This is best understood through the characteristic adaptability that reverberated in a revolution of architectural forms, and a programmatic dexterity that radically redefined the roles of place, structure, spectator, interior, and exterior to create new forms of reality-architecture, or super reality. It also asserted that religion could potentially be everywhere and everything instead of bound to an architectural manifestation of an institutional framework. While some critics insist that superordinary forms are sites of the disappearance of meaning, one of the main arguments in this seminar are that Protestant architecture paradoxically gained public presence through the disappearance of meaning and representation. In this sense, it not only overcame the traditional signification of religious architecture, but also the traditional dichotomy of function and form. These transformations further articulated new religious and architectural conditions that allowed for an unprecedented questioning of the relationship between the “unmeasurable” and “reality,” and ultimately led to the advent of the metachurch as an overture towards the future of sacred architecture.




17th century

19th century

20th century Third Great Awakening

Second Great Awakening

First Great Awakening




characterized by new denominations Enlightenment


Goethe, Museumshof













Industrial Revolution

Pastoral Landscape







Gutenberg Bible

Cathedral Martin Luther

Charles Spurgeon Crystal Palace, 1854

24,000 visitors

17th century

18th century

19th century

20th century





21st century


Fourth Great Awakening



Marshal McLuhan


Church Growth Movement

Growth Pragmatism

Jean Baudrillard

Robert Venturi

Tract Housing

Interstate Highway System American Dream

World War II


Urban Exodus

Corporate Culture





Mass Consumerism



Mass Media



The Purpose Driven Life

Housing Crisis

Financial Capitalism









21st century

THE MEETING HOUSE by Andrew Potter


Through analyzing the history of religion in America and the way that culture and religion have always informed one another, it is clear to see how the architecture of religious spaces may be considered ordinary within our culture. However, these religious spaces and buildings can actually be considered Superordinary when compared with historical precedents of ways religious spaces were designed. Through analyzing the religious architecture of Puritans in relation to American culture, it is obvious that these religious spaces were pushing the norms and boundaries for religious architecture at the time. The Superordinary is a result of a long-standing tradition in the advancement of sacred architecture in the United States, attempting not to break with its formal and aesthetic history, the meetinghouse typology shifts with changing beliefs, ideology, and culture of early America. When the meetinghouse gains its own meaning separate from the reference to European cathedrals, new typologies arise in camp meetings, tent churches, and moveable pulpits addressing the shifting focus of the religion and the needs of the time. To understand the architecture of puritans it is first important to understand the ideology of Puritanism: their ideas and beliefs. Martin Luther started Puritanism


with the First Great Awakening in the early 1500s. Luther’s ideas went against the medieval Church of England, which in his opinion had been corrupted. Luther’s main idea was to simplify religion from what it had become. Luther wanted people to focus on making a connection with God on a personal level rather then a connection to God through a pastor, preacher or bishop. “Every Christian a priest” was the idea that Luther was trying to establish during the reformation.1 This connection to God on a personal level would be made through the bible. The bible was central to puritan’s beliefs and was the most important part of their religion, everyone needed to both read and know the bible. “Puritans are sure that the bible is mankind’s one guaranteed connection with God. Puritans reject the idea of modern day prophecy, and of direct revelation from God to man in the post biblical era.”2 The Puritans main hope was to live as close to God as they could through a personal relationship. The bible allowed everyone to practice worship and become connected to God on a personal level. Religion no longer happened just inside of a church but was critical in all aspects of the Puritan’s lives. There second main belief was that religion must be simple and “must sweep away all artificial, corrupt, and impure embellishments of Christianity and Christian worship.”3

The Meeting House During the time of the reformation by Martin Luther it is critical to also look at the history of the Puritans religion in England. The origins of religion England began with its ties to the Church of Rome. King Henry VII who decided to bring the reformation to England, did so in order for him to be able to divorce his wife. Since the Church of Rome was not willing to let him carry through with the divorce, he began the Church of England. Following King Henry VII, Queen Mary took control over England. She was a strongminded catholic queen who had intentions of returning the Church of England to Catholicism. Over the course of her time she had nearly three hundred Protestants burned for their religious beliefs. This persecution of puritans in England led to a greater disgust of Catholicism across England by not only Puritans, but also by the general population. Queen Elizabeth followed Queen Mary and created a new Church of England, which was a compromise between Roman Catholics and Protestants. This religious compromise was something that Puritans could not accept. The Puritans went on a search for a personal utopia and brought their beliefs to America were they could have their religious freedom. The Puritans were sure they could build holier communities than the ones they were leaving behind. The act of colony forming in America was started in 1585 on Roanoke Island in Virginia. The colony experienced a series of unsuccessful attempts, yet the idea of colony forming had been established and was tried again in the early 1600s in Jamestown, Virginia. 4 Since the colonies were completely new and designed from the ground up, it allowed Puritans to establish the Architecture in which they wanted to worship and live. In Europe for hundreds of year’s


Superordinary prior, religious architecture had always been the Cathedral. The cathedral often served as the center of the European town in which it was located and was designed as a massive structure with detailed ornamentation. This had always been the way that religious architecture had been practiced and no architect or designer had attempted to change this idea until the Puritans in America. Puritans did not obtain the master builders and their ability to build cathedrals, nor did the culture need these massive cathedrals to practice their religion. Puritans instead created their own religious architecture, the meetinghouse. In Puritan belief, religion was the central focus of their lives. The meetinghouse was most often the largest and centrally located building within a colony. In Jamestown for example the meetinghouse and other civic buildings were all centrally located with smaller houses surrounding them. The layout of the meetinghouse within colony


begins to express the Puritan’s ideas about a community being able to come together to a central space to worship and share their beliefs. In Plymouth plantation, which was colonized in 1620, the meetinghouse was orientated at the end of a central axis formed by the other buildings within the colony. In both Jamestown and Plymouth plantation the meetinghouse was the largest building of the colony. Puritans did not have a specific plan for their places of worship upon there arrival to America. They did not believe in the idea of a sanctified place, such as a church, to be appropriate for worshiping God. The meetinghouse was designed with the same simple ornamentation and construction of the homes surrounding it, which signified the Puritan’s belief of religion; it must be simple and must sweep away all signs of Christianity. There were no religious signs or symbols that designated the meetinghouse as a place of worship. To them God was always

The Meeting House everywhere. The meetinghouse looked quite ordinary compared to the surrounding homes; they were constructed as simple, unadorned, “plain� places to gather. In keeping with the familiar ways of construction the meetinghouse used the English building techniques for secular homes. Meetinghouses appeared quite ordinary within this context, yet the idea to worship in this type of space was completely new. The meetinghouse was often used as not only a church but also as a place to hold other civic events, meetings, and town halls. For example within Plymouth plantation the meetinghouse was used as a watchtower for defense when it was not being used for worship. This idea of a place of worship having multiple programs was completely different than the cathedral. The culture in America was more focused on the religion itself rather then the architectural space or building in which it was worshipped within. According to the Puritans, the bible is the vehicle for a personal relationship with God. Coming together to worship, the architecture of the meetinghouse reflected these ambitions by providing a space to share scriptures and stories of your personal relationship with God. The meetinghouse was often two-storied with a row of windows corresponding to each story. Both the form and size of the meetinghouse was determined by the need to clearly hear the unamplified voice. Usually meetinghouses were square in form radically different from elongated cathedrals, which focused on making an axis to God. They had three entrances that led people into the meetinghouse from the east, west, and south. The main entrance usually had a double door that was oriented to the south, yet there was no ornamentation or architecture to denote the entrance, just a simple cut in the wall with a door.


Superordinary The interior was more striking than the exterior in its rejection of traditional church design. The pulpit, which in a traditional cathedral would be located at the end of a long axis, was now moved to the center of the space. The pulpit was both literally and figuratively the center of the space. Usually a pastor would lead the discussion from the pulpit and people would share their stories and connection with God from this space. One or two larger windows behind it on the northern façade lighted the pulpit. The windows were usually larger and broke the pattern of windows on the rest of the building. Yet no stained glass was ever used in meetinghouse design.4 There was seating around three sides of the pulpit and normally a balcony on the second floor. The balcony allowed people to be able to look down and be close and connected to the pulpit and discussion. In 1681, the Old Ship meetinghouse was built in Hingham, Massachusetts. It followed the traditional architectural techniques of meetinghouses. It was square in plan (45 feet x 55 feet), with a hipped roof.5 It had window spacing, which was broken, by the larger windows on the northern façade to allow light into the pulpit. The pulpit within the church was against the northern façade with seating around three sides and an upper balcony again with three sides of seating. The congregation was divided into seating areas during times of worship. To the left side was the woman’s seating with men’s seating to the right. Directly next to the pulpit on either side were elderly people, wives of deacons, and widows, with children being sat behind them. The benches in the main section of the church were filled with young married couples with seating for servants, African Americans, and Native Americans behind them. In the gallery level the seating was left for younger


The Meeting House unmarried members of the congregation. The idea of benches and splitting families helped to focus the worship into a personal experience within the meetinghouse. Meetinghouses throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were all built with the same process and features focusing on the plainness of the building. It was until the mid eighteenth century that meetinghouse design slowly started to move in a new direction known as the transitional period. Congregations were growing in size and wanted to begin to denote the meetinghouse as a place of worship different from buildings surrounding it. Puritan congregations begin to vote to make changes and add features to existing meetinghouses. The Greek revival inspired changes, which encourages the addition of columns, pilasters, and cornices on the exterior as well as the interior of the church. Congregations encouraged the ornamentation and elaboration of pews, pulpit, and windows with some Churches even voting to install stained glass windows. No longer did the structure of the meetinghouse resemble a large house: this was now the architecture of a place of worship. The old Ship meetinghouse for example, voted to make their church larger for the growing congregation. An additional 20 feet of space was added to the east and west portion of the building making it a rectangular floor plan, something that was becoming more and more common as new meetinghouses were being built. The original truss rafters were left on the roof and a new concealed roof was added over the addition in 1755. As time went on the congregation again voted to make additional changes to the meetinghouse first adding a large cupola on the roof. This cupola began to signify that the meetinghouse was a place of worship from

the exterior, something that had not been done in a traditional meetinghouse. Along with the exterior additions, changes began to happen on the interior of the church in the form of the seating arrangement. The benches that had once denoted the location of people’s seating to focus on their own personal connection with God were replaced with box pews. These box pews signified a change in the ideology of the religion of Puritanism. It had evolved to be about making a connection to God through the use of the family. The box pews reinvented the seating arrangement and now allowed families and individuals to sit within smaller clusters within a greater whole and worship together. The old ship meetinghouse still has regular masses and is the oldest meetinghouse that still holds regular masses in America today.

1 Gelernter, David. 2007. Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion. Doubleday, First Edition: 44 2 Gelernter, David. 2007. Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion. Doubleday, First Edition: 46 3 Gelernter, David. 2007. Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion. Doubleday, First Edition: 48 4 Sinnott. 1963. Meeting House and Church Architecture in Early New England. McGraw-Hill Book Company: 16 5 Morrison, Hugh. 1987. Early American Architecture: From the First Colonial Settlements to the National Period. Dover Publications: 80-81




In an effort to bring ‘the word’ to the unchurched, rather than the historical precedent of the inverse, the sacred architecture of 19th century America divided to conquer. An early network of evangelical information, brought about by the American Track Society (ATS), picks up where the centralized church left off, providing direction and support for each disparate faction. E..M.. Long and Jonas Y. Schultz take up the evangelical ethos of the early 19th century, and through the means of the ATS develop architectural solutions for temporary places of worship in direct response to nascent culture. Street Preaching & Camp Meeting Beginning with the First Great Awakening, reactions against strict puritan values can be seen clearly in the methods of bringing ‘the word’ to the public. In Puritan tradition only select individuals were allowed to speak. These were individuals who were able to publicly proclaim a deep personal relationship with God and be accepted by the religious leaders. Few attempted and fewer were accepted; those who were not allowed to speak took their preachings to the streets. The most successful street preachers were those who communicated, to the public,


Figure 1.1

The Meeting House their personal relationship to God through the Bible. They used direct references to the bible to justify their actions, citing that Jesus himself was a street preacher. Two Anglicans, George Whitefield and John Wesley were banned from speaking in churches since they were not licensed by religious leaders. They took to field preaching to build a congregation and as early as 1751 Whitefield spoke to crowds estimated of up to 20,000 people, in the open air. Whitefield and Wesley traveled throughout England and the American colonies and were instrumental in the First Great Awakening; a mighty revival that swept the colonies in the eighteenth century. This set a cyclical pattern for great awakenings to come and directly influenced the methods by which the moveable pulpits were developed. (Figure 1.1) The context of this portable architecture is at the tail end of the Second Great Awakening beginning in 1800 and lasting until the late 1820s. As a second attempt to re-unite early Americans under the protestant faith, preachers attempted to escape from the cities into the virgin landscape. Camp meetings drew thousands of followers into the American wilderness for week long periods of worship and exaltation. This movement was sparked in direct reaction to the advent of cities in early America. The churched and un-churched together followed the preachers out of the profane cities and towns in search of a lost sacred landscape in which to connect emotionally with God. The mission of the camp meetings was to draw out the personal salvation of the unchurched. Each and every visitor was expected to go on from the idealized place of the wilderness to the profane cities and to share their experiences with the unchurched. Visitors were inspired to do this through emotionally

engaging extended sermons given by preachers standing on temporary elevated platforms. This high vantage point within the trees, allowed the preacher to stand a full human height over the crowd and to use their entire body to evoke visceral feelings within the followers. The exhalations of individuals within the crowd led to an intensifying of these emotions within each audience member. The elevated stages were erected in the wilderness out of lightweight wooden planks and found materials; they played an integral part in the experience of the camp meeting. The temporary stages set a precedent for the moveable architecture to come. American Tract Society At the eventual fading of the excitement of the Second Great Awakening, America again returned to a situation of indifference and of the “heathen at home.” A society that traces it roots to England, the American Tract Society set to respond in the manner of the dissemination of knowledge through printed matter. The ATS is publishing house that was founded in 1825 at the tail end of the Second Great Awakening. With a mission of making “Jesus Christ known in His redeeming grace and to promote the interests of vital godliness and sound morality, by the circulation of Religious Tracts, calculated to receive the approbation of all Evangelical Christians.” The institution attempted to meet this goal by creating a distribution system spanning the entirety of the rapidly growing 19th century America, in order to bring magazines, sermons, scriptures and books that spread the evangelical word. Growing quickly, the ATS built a 23 story headquarters on Broadway and fifth in New York City. With this move the institution took a definitive position within society and made


Superordinary a sharp break with the escapist notions of the camp meetings. Engaging with the monetary growth within the city the ATS opened up many avenues religious institutions in the past lacked because of the reliance on donations for funding. Situating themselves as a non-profit within the city they took up the best of both realms: the income from the publications could be put directly back into production and by using the existing networks and distribution systems of the city, they could reach thousands of believers quickly and efficiently. These networks became the means by which individual projects into surrounding towns were made, and the profit from sales provided the financial means to venture even further from the city centers. The ATS was attractive to many motivated pastors looking to reach the ever widening population of the growing nation. Seen as a new and exciting venture into the spread of religious materials, the institution did not only seek to disseminate the pure word of god, but to provide individuals thoughts and experiences on their own experiences and methods by which to have a similar connection with God. The tracts were short in length and in English contemporary to the time, which made them attractive to the ever shortening attention spans of the cites inhabitants. These tracts would be written, published and distributed by agents of the ATS and were widely successful. These positions were held by many young pastors wishing to make a difference in this new media. Both agents for the ATS, Jonas Y. Schultz and Edwin M. Long met in the institutions headquarters in New York. They shared a German heritage and a passion for the mission of the ATS. Reverend E. M. Long describes the ATS as being “upon the mountains publishing salvation.” It is through this meeting that they joined in a


mission to the coal mining regions, of the then, far west. The experiences of the mission brought about the need of a moveable place in which to worship. With this inspiration they collaborated on the idea of a moveable pulpit from which to preach and distribute the tracts. Moveable Pulpits In the bare interior of the early American meeting house the pulpit was the center of the interior services and through it’s symbolism became the center of the exterior services. Combining the success of elevated platforms of the camp meetings with the symbol of the center of service, from the pulpit of the meetinghouses, the Hedge and Highway Pulpit came into being. (Figure 1.2) Constructed of lightweight spun wooden pieces, the moveable pulpit had the advantage of being portable without the need to reconstruct the piece at each new location. This allowed “the gospel [to] be preached wherever and whenever men can be gathered to listen to its proclamation,” with only the help of a horse and carriage. The lightweight wooden frame was formed in such a way that when draped with fabric it presented a heavy solid appearance. (Figure 1.2) The situation created by this pulpit was vastly different than that of a preacher standing on some found elevated surface. The pulpit, with it’s appearance, commanded a specific point in space creating a strong central gathering space. Small horizontal surfaces, parts of the wooden frame, made areas on which to place relics, candles and other artifacts of the interior church. Together with the charisma of the preachers, this moveable architectural strategy proved successful for grasping the attention of the un-churched public in open air.

The Meeting House

Figure 1.2

The fight the Highway and Hedge Pulpit was waging was a fight against indifference. The personal relationship with god of the early Puritans became ‘the heathen at home.’ Accepted beliefs that laid foundations for early puritan communities had, in the mid 19th century, given way to general indifference. The personal relationship with God developed by the puritans could not hold its ground within a rapidly developing country. As cities grew, places of worship fell into decline. Statistics from the time state that in 1830 in Pennsylvania, a rapidly developing state, one third of population was without accommodation in a house of worship. In the typical manner of religious cycles, in times of indifference, the leaders look to the Bible for inspiration and guidance. This is the manner of the moveable pulpit, “go ye out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in.” It’s name would have communicated clearly the intention in it’s making and use to anyone who would have

heard of it. Throughout the mid 19th century there would be many mission pastors who would craft their own version of the Highway and Hedge Pulpit. (Figure 1.3) The use of the Portable Pulpit would consist of the reverend standing and proclaiming the word of God was to be spoken and the young boys of the town would provide the publicity, running and exclaiming in the streets. This small-scale spectacle would stir up the town’s people to venture toward the shouting voices. The elevated preacher would position himself in a manner as to be seen from a great distance and with an area around him large enough to support a crowd. Later in its history, the portable pulpit would be used in manner analogous to a contemporary tour format. A group of pastors, with recognizable names and who were well known for their charisma, would plan dates, times and places to perform. (Figure 4) Looking to herd the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” the portable pulpit


Superordinary provided a center for an event that sparked the attention of everyone outside. This method quickly drew crowds that required a larger enclosed space to preach. On a return trip to the mining region, supported by the ATS, Long and Schultz drew crowds much too large for the small pulpit and the services were moved to a hotel nearby. After this short stint in a hotel they drew up plans for the first moveable tent church which would come to be the Union Tabernacle. Tent Churches

Figure 1.3

Figure 1.4


The culture of early American cites quickly drew the phenomena of the spectacle. An early development of these happenings was the circus. (Figure 1.5) Seemingly chaotic displays of acrobatics and beast taming built suspense within large crowds, which when released resulted in exaltation by the crowd. These spectacular cultural events stirred up interest in the city and united large numbers of people under one roof. The circus tents were able to not only enclose a vast volume of space but they were able to be assembled, disassembled and moved with ease. This technology rapidly developed and caught the attention of Long and Schultz seeing opportunity in the architectural typology of a circus tent. With ever growing crowds wishing to hear them speak, Long and Schultz used the technology of the circus tent to bring their spectacle into the city centers. The concept of the circus tent mirrors that of the Hedge and Highway pulpit. A light weight wooden structure provides the armature for the stretched canvas to enveloped vast spaces, and present the effect of a large closed body from the exterior. The preachers made no attempt to distinguish the tent from that of a circus tent, rather they used its form and meaning

The Meeting House

Figure 1.5

to create interest within the city. The flurry of motion and noise created by the erection of one of the tents was itself a spectacle to watch. The tents would be placed within the public spaces of the city and the combination of noise and movement would draw crowds interested in the happening. Tents would spend a weeks in each location taking on the characteristic of a festival with many diverse speakers aimed at interesting many. In the mission to convert and emotionally connect the un-churched of the cites. The architecture of the tent churches borrowed the image and the technologies developed by the early American circus. The first example of the tent church typology is the Union tabernacle, first designed in 1832, and finally built in Quakertown in 1858. (Figure 1.6) The ATS provided funding and literature for the venture taken on by Long and Schultz making the construction of the tent possible. The connection between the ATS and the city,

the ATS and the tabernacle and the tabernacle and the city is not a piece of happenstance. Early examples of the allying of religion and popular culture are few and this connection between the publishing house and the circuslike event of the Union Tabernacle presents an unlikely intersection between the two. A symbiotic relationship between the city and religion was struck by this sacred architectural typology where the citizens were provided with a space of worship and a spectacle to distract from the monotony of city life. The impermanence of the structure mirrored the fleeting nature of time and explicated the fact that citizens must choose to come to God now, rather than wait, because the tent may have moved on by the time they have made their decision. The architecture of the Union Tabernacle was flexible in both, being able to be move from city to city and also in the subdivision of interior space. Loose canvas partitions divided into four sections to


Superordinary accommodate 300-3000 persons. The name Tabernacle refers to early Israeli canvas dwellings and of the in-dwelling of god within a religious space. Using the bible as the inspiration for built form and meaning, the architecture of the tent church used the technology of the 19th century society and connected to events thousands of years in the past. The publication of religious materials as developed by institutions like the ATS provided a framework, not unlike the wooden framework of the Highway and Hedge pulpit, to which the form was given by individuals like Long and Schultz. Without the framework of the network provided by the ATS and the visionary alliance with culture, the moveable sacred architectures of the 19th century would not have found their successful form.

Figure 1.6


American Tract Society. American Tract Society. New York: The Society, 1857. Early History of the American Tract Society. http:// (accessed January, 13, 2012). Jonas Yeakel Schultz Physician-Preacher-Writer. (accessed March 10, 2012) American Tract Society. The Evangelical Family Bible. Luke xii 23. [New York]: American Tract Society, 1832. Long, Edwin M.. The Union Tabernacle, or, Movable Tent-Church Showing in Its Rise and Success a New Department of Christian Enterprise. Philadelphia, Pa: Parry & McMillan, 1859.

SPACE FOR THE MASSES by Matthew Uminski & Nicholas Ter Meer


During the early part of the 20th century the need for larger religious spaces became more relative in the context between the pastoral landscapes and an urbanized society. This shift towards urbanization saw an influx in industry, congestion and a larger community in search of religion. As communities began to grow, so did the need for larger mass evangelical spaces. These superordinary spaces began to find themselves nestled in the dense urban fabric that was beginning to be unveiled. The attempt was to use ordinary spaces and convert them to become larger gathering spaces for people like Billy Sunday and Charles Spurgeon to speak to larger masses of people than ever before. This framework would ultimately manifest as time and society developed. Over time as these spaces became well defined so did the voices behind them. These voices began to not only set the tone for the space but also give these rather ordinary spaces an image and ultimately a superordinary meaning. The voices that defined these spaces were in many cases the calling card in order to form these larger gatherings. In some regards the spaces became less about the architectural expression of the spaces, but rather the interior qualities of these spaces including the voices that allowed these spaces to become alive. Voices like Charles Spurgeon, Billy Sunday, Aimee


McPherson and Billy Graham were amongst many of the mass evangelical preachers that first gave way to mass evangelism and made it what it is today. The architecture in many ways became an instrument for gathering then expression. Before the days of Billy Graham, Aimee McPherson and Billy Sunday, there was a man who was redefining evangelicalism in London. His name was Charles Spurgeon. Charles Haddon Spurgeon [b. 1824], also known as the “Prince of Preachers� was a British Baptist preacher who was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition. In his lifetime it is estimated that Spurgeon reached close to 10,000,000 people through his sermons1. He was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in 1894 followed by Metropolitan Tabernacle, in London where he would preach for an astonishing 38 years2. Spurgeon was widely known as prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry, hymns and much more3. Spurgeon at the age of 16 became a Christian. On his way to an appointment in January 1850, a sudden snowstorm diverted to a Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester, the rest is history. Later that April Spurgeon was admitted to a church at Newmarket. Nearly a month later he was baptized in the

Space For The Masses

Figure 2.1

river Lark at Isleham. Later that year he moved to Cambridge in order to become a Sunday school teacher. His first sermon came in 1850 while filling in for a friend at a cottage at Teversham. He followed by publishing his first literary work, a Gospel Tract in 1853. Spurgeon was well on his way to becoming a famed pastor. At the age of 20, Spurgeon was called upon to pastor at the London’s New Park Street Chapel in Southwark. At the time it was the largest Baptist congregation in London. Within a few months at Park Street Spurgeon was becoming famous for his ability to preach. As his congregation increased in numbers well over the capacity of 1200 seats Spurgeon got approval in August 1854 to expand the chapel4. While the chapel was being renovated he conducted his preaching at Exeter Hall. Exeter Hall [Figure 2.1] was the first expansive auditorium space that really allowed Spurgeon to speak to the masses.

Exeter Hall was a large public auditorium that seated roughly 5,000 people5. At that time public halls were ordinary in London, the largest being the Crystal Palace, opened by Queen Victoria years earlier, it would also be the site of his largest crowd. Exeter was built primarily to hold special evangelical meetings.6 The proprietors rented the Hall for specific religious conferences, but to use the space for regular worship services was unheard of 7. Spurgeon made it happen. The question then was would people show up to hear him speak, and show up they did. On his very first service at Exeter Hall Spurgeon transformed the ordinary auditorium into a superordinary space for thousands to hear him speak. As thousands of people each week would fill up Exeter, Spurgeon needed larger space accommodations in order to reach a larger audience of people. So in 1856 Spurgeon rented out the Surrey Music Hall [Figure 2.2] in the Royal Surrey Gardens



Figure 2.2

Figure 2.3


for services. The hall was considered London’s “largest, most commodious and most beautiful building, erected for public amusements, carnival of wild beaster and wilder men.”8 Surrey Music hall [Figure 2.3] was an expansive space, holding between ten and twelve thousand people. Unlike many of the cathedrals in London the ordinary music hall was set up slightly differently. There was a long and narrow seating area set up in front of the pulpit as well and additional two levels of seating that occurred on both sides of the auditorium. Crowds could also be seen seated behind Spurgeon as they were in front of him. The only resemblance to typical churches was that the pulpit was elevated to allow for Spurgeon to be elevated about the audience. Spurgeon was key in the transformation of the space itself. He was able by the power of his preaching to transform the typical music hall into a religious spectacle and performance. The worldly aspects that the space conveyed was put aside as well as the aesthetics of the space in order to create a space that was superordinary to the traditional function of the musical hall of amusements. However, in few minutes into his preaching during the first service at Surrey, there was a fire in one of the upper galleries.9 Seven people ended up dying that night including many others seriously injured. This even tremendously depressed Spurgeon, however it had also made him even more famous in the process. At the height of his success Spurgeon was given the opportunity to preach at London’s Crystal Palace, he basked in the opportunity. It ended up being his largest recorded crowd at 23,654 people [Figure 2.4]. The Crystal Palace was London’s grandest gathering space during the 1850s. The cast-iron and plate-glass building was nearly 990,000 square feet in size. The Great

Space For The Masses

Figure 2.4

Exhibition building was 1,851 feet long with a height of 128 feet10. It was originally conceived to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 were more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered.11 Through his fame, Spurgeon was able to again transform the exhibition space into a massive religious gathering space. Many today would compare his crowds to that Billy Graham has preached to over the years. On March 18, 1861 Spurgeon and his congregation moved into a permanently constructed space the Metropolitan Tabernacle [Figure 2.5]. The space had seating for nearly 5,000 people with standing room for roughly 1,000 more.12 The interior of the space seemed in many ways to mimic those of the Surrey Music hall. The space had expansive three sections of pews with two additional sections of seating that wrapped all the way around the space. In order to meet the demands of the space Spurgeon’s pulpit was also larger raising him up nearly to the height

of the first balcony. “Spurgeon’s Tabernacle” 13 as it is most commonly referred to as was precursor to the modern day “megachurch” as it was at the time of it’s unveiling the largest church edifice of it’s day. Spurgeon continued to preach at the space for next 31 years. Following the evangelical preaching’s that happened in London throughout the mid to late 1800s by Charles Spurgeon. In America a man by the name of Billy Sunday [b. 1862], was being to carry out the evangelical movement in America during the first two decades of the 20th century14, while becoming influential to many including Aimee McPherson and Billy Graham. However, Sunday didn’t start out as a preacher but rather a baseball player in the National League during the 1880s. During that time Billy converted to Evangelical Christianity and left baseball for the Christian ministry. Over time he developed his skills as a pulpit evangelist in the Midwest and



Figure 2.5

gradually over time became the nation’s most famous evangelist. Much like Spurgeon and Graham, Sunday would travel to America’s largest cities to perform his sermons to the largest crowds. In the spring of 1891, Sunday ended up turning down a baseball contract for $3,000 a year to accept a position with the Chicago YMCA to be an Assistant Secretary, yet the position involved a great deal of ministerial work15. In 1893 Sunday became the full-time assistant to J. William Chapman, at the time Chapman was one of the best-known evangelists in the United States. Sunday learned all he could from Chapman till eventually in 1896, Sunday began conducting meetings in tiny Garner, Iowa. For the next two years he would end up preaching in over seventy communities through Iowa and Illinois. As the word about Sunday began to circulate so did his attendance. The crowds began to get larger and larger and the rural


churches or town halls were unable to accommodate the large crowds that Sunday was attracting. This lead him to start renting large canvas tents that he would construct and also sleep in during nights in order to ensure their security. However in 1906 during a snowstorm in Colorado, Sunday’s tent was destroyed. This prompted him to get cities and towns to construct him temporary wooden tabernacles at their expense. Later that year following the tent collapse Sunday conducted a five-week campaign at the New Armory Building in Kewanee, Illinois [Figure 2.6]. His meetings gave way to an attendance of nearly 200,000. His very first meeting in Kewanee Sunday preached to a number of 2,000 people during the morning and afternoon services16. Word spread quickly that day and later that night the armory saw a crowd of 4,000 people17. For those five weeks Sunday was able to adapt the armory to reach the masses. He used the expansive ordinary space to preach

Space For The Masses the word, and through his preaching it gave way to many of the tabernacle spaces around the country. Billy Sunday’s tabernacles were larger wooden tent like structures that were set up all over the United States, for example the one constructed in 1907 in Springfield [Figure 2.7]. Most of them all had the same characteristics. They were constructed out of wood members and in order to accommodate large numbers of people. Unlike the auditorium spaces used by Spurgeon that were permanent public meeting spaces. In comparison Sunday’s tabernacle’s where far more temporal. They would only be used for a months then one over, the wood used to form the space would be recycled for other various projects. Also many of the tabernacles constructed only allowed for seating on one level. Sunday would then preach from an elevated platform much like a theater production. Through this Sunday was able to preach to number well in the millions. One of the largest tabernacles that was constructed for Sunday was in New York in the spring of 1917 [Figure 2.8]. The tabernacle was constructed in the way many of them where, this one however, had the seating capacity of nearly 18,000. The interior [Figure 2.9] for the first time was constructed at an angle in order to accommodate such large amounts of people. The organization mimics that of tensile and auditorium spaces. Sunday liked these kinds of spaces. They allowed him to transform his sermons into theatrical like performance in order to get the messages across. This made him one of the most successful evangelists of his time. His campaigns gave way to some of the most sought after evangelist to follow, Aimee McPherson and Billy Graham. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the church was looking for a more spiritual

Figure 2.6

Figure 2.7


Superordinary experience; a revival of sorts to come to the states and make a difference in America. With the Roaring 20s soon to arrive and shortly after, the Great Depression, there was much change to be had at the turn of the century. Aimee McPherson (b. 1890), often known as Sister Aimee, was a CanadianAmerica Christian evangelist in Los Angeles, California. As an evangelist, she became a media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s18. In 1927, Aimee founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which is an evangelical Pentecostal Christian denomination, in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, California. As a part of the Foursquare Christian Denomination, the Angelus Temple was built primarily through the vision of Aimee McPherson. As a celebrity in the Christian scope, McPherson participated in various public events such as weekly parades along with Hollywood icons through the streets of Los Angeles. 19 While in High School in Canada, Figure 2.8

Figure 2.9


Space For The Masses McPherson began questioning the ideals that were taught in school, specifically Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. McPherson organized a crusade against the teaching of evolution, which became a life-long passion. 20 These were early signs of her leadership and her ability to rally others toward a common goal. At such an early age, she showed her strong-will and was a precursor to what was to come in her life. At the age of 18, McPherson married and embarked on an evangelist tour with her new husband. They toured Europe and China where they stayed for over 2 years. While in China, she and her husband contracted malaria and soon after, her husband passed away. He was buried in Hong Kong Cemetery. After her return to the United States, McPherson moved to New York City with her sister where she met her second husband, Harold Stewart McPherson. They married in 1912 and had a son one year later. 21 After the birth of her son, McPherson decided that she would embark on a preaching career. She traveled around Canada and the United States holding tent revivals similar to those of Billy Sunday and many traveling preachers prior. Most of her tent revivals were standing-room-only events; one of which was held in a boxing ring prior to the match. While in San Diego, California, the National Guard was called to control a revival crowd of more than 30,000 people. 22 In 1916, McPherson embarked on yet another traveling tour around southern California, but this tour included the “Gospel Car”[Figure 2.10]. The 1912 Packard displayed religious slogans and phrases while McPherson sat in the back seat with a megaphone proclaiming the Gospel. After World War I had ended and the

Gospel Car Tour was finished, McPherson decided to stay in Los Angeles because she believed that if she setup near a cultural hub, she would be heard around the world. She traveled, fund-raising for the construction of the new church to be built in Echo Park. Fundraising more than she had hoped, McPherson began to rethink the construction of Angelus Temple and making it a “megachurch”. When the Angelus temple was built, it initially sat 5,300 people three times a day, seven days a week23. Angelus Temple was dedicated on January 1, 1923 and resembles art-deco styles [Figure 2.11]. The façade was to read as a homogenous form without a formal entry and seventeen alcoves that lined the street. This was a remarkable feat considering there were no precedents to the size of this congregation. The architecture of the Angelus Temple resembled an auditorium setting with three tiers of seating circled around a centralized figure speaking the gospel. As the Angelus Temple is nestled on the corner of an awkward two-way intersection of Glendale Ave, and Park Ave. In Echo Park, Los Angeles [Figure 2.12], it is necessary for the shape to take on a quarter-circle, which made the auditorium style sanctuary an opportune shape. The auditorium style church was very sought after at the time of the construction

Figure 2.10


Superordinary of the Angelus Temple but none were at the scale of the Angelus Temple [Figure 2.13]. Later that year, radio towers were added to the top of the Angelus Temple to showcase their commitment to getting the Good News of the Gospel to the public by any means possible [Figure 2.14]. On February 10, 1924, KFSG (K Four Square Gospel) first hit the airwaves. KFSG was one of the first radio stations in the United States and one of the first Christian radio station in the United States24. This was the beginning of a new era for religious congregations in America. McPherson had a very innovative way of preaching and teaching the gospel that was unlike other evangelists of her time. She often presented the crowd with “alter calls�, in which the congregation would come forth from the crowd and participate in the healing and receiving prayers from her first hand. She often anointed people in the congregation, which often caused them to pass-out for short amounts of time [Figure 2.15]. McPherson

Figure 2.11


had a very unique form of preaching that, at the time, was very sought after by many Americans because it was innovative and showed instant gratification. McPherson had a very charismatic on stage, which brought a new definition to the Auditorium Church. The centerpiece of the music and song filled services was her illustrated sermons. She would tell her biblical or topical story with the aid of costume and elaborate sets [Figure 2.16]. McPherson wrote much of the music and hymns that went along with these sermons, making them musicals or operas. This was a style that fit into the context of Los Angeles in the 1920s. Similar to many of the turn-ofthe century evangelists, McPherson set up a Bible college called LIFE Bible College (Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism) in 1927, which was just steps away from the Angelus Temple. The fivestory addition made this location a small

Space For The Masses

Figure 2.12

Figure 2.13


Superordinary campus of McPherson’s vision25. This addition also made the church’s presence on the site much more effective in all aspect [Figure 2.17]. The college later relocated to San Dimas, California in search for a campus and a better location to grow. In 1929, The large radio towers located on the top of the Angelus Temple bore the letters “KFSG”, which began to advertise their radio station even more, gathering more listeners than ever before [Figure 2.18]. This began a new era is the advertising of religion on making a public appearance. McPherson knew that placing an advertisement on a very busy intersection in Los Angeles would mean more listeners and in turn, more attendees to her services. Because the church had a dome, which was very prominent in early religious architecture (the Dome of the Rock, Hagia Sophia, etc.), this structure stood out as a religious space, which not to the extent that McPherson would have liked so she decided to add a cross to the top of the dome denoting that the space was a Christian space rather than any other religious space. The cross was added to the top of the dome in 1938 [Figure 2.19] and later was denoted as a National Landmark. At this time, the main entrance to the sanctuary shifted from the Glendale Ave. entrance to alcoves 7 and 8, which were located in the middle of both intersections [Figure 2.20]26. Also at this time a sign was added to the front, “Aimee Semple McPherson, Angelus Temple”. 1939 was the last year that the radio towers were on top of the Angelus Temple and by 1942 a statue of McPherson had appeared above the main entrance. In 1941, the building replaced the two radio towers were with four smaller towers that carried radio waves to the listeners around the United States.


Figure 2.14

Figure 2.15

Figure 2.16

Space For The Masses

Figure 2.17

Figure 2.18

Figure 2.19

By the mid 1940s, the Angelus Temple began using many signage opportunities to reach the community, including a figurine of Aimee McPherson with her hands situated in a holy position. By 1946, the statue of McPherson had been removed from the entrance of the marquee and after her death in 1944; the congregation had shifted from her reign to her son Roth McPherson. Roth McPherson carried the congregation until 1988 and continued to be a part of the church until his death in 2009. Now the Angelus Temple still stands at the corner of Glendale Blvd. and Park Ave. on the edge of Echo Park. It is the home of Angelus Temple Hispanic Church and since then LIFE Bible College moved 40 miles east to a larger campus in San Dimas, California. Billy Graham (b. 1918) is an evangelist who took many qualities of McPherson while acquiring a celebrity status as a preacher. In the height of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Graham was a very public figure for religion in the United States. Although Graham only held a pastoral role for a brief time in his early career, he began evangelizing to the country via different media means. After creating his Crusades worldwide, Graham became a public figure and held the role of spiritual advisor for many United States Presidents. Graham was born on a dairy farm near Charlotte, North Carolina to Reformed Presbyterian parents. According to the Billy Graham Center, Graham converted in 1934 age of 16 at a revival meeting led by famous evangelist Mordecai Ham.27 While attending college at Florida Bible Institute, Graham claims that he received his calling while on the 18th green of the Tempe Terrace Golf Club, where he frequented.28 Graham later went to Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois where he graduated with a degree in



Figure 2.20

anthropology. 29 Shortly after graduating from Wheaton, Graham was married and took a pastoral role at Village Church in Western Spring, Illinois. There, Graham became friends with Torrey Johnson, a pastor at the well-known Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, who soon told him about a possibility of an opening on his radio show, “Songs in the Night”. This was Graham’s first appearance on air and took a liking to preaching to the masses. At the age of 30, Graham became the youngest person to serve as college president at Northwestern Bible College in St. Paul, Minnesota. After four years as the president of Northwestern Bible College, Graham took the position of being the first full-time evangelist for Youth for Christ International, which was cofounded by Torrey Johnson. Graham traveled the United State, Canada and Europe, giving him a worldwide presence. The purpose of Youth Christ International was to


create a worldwide network towards the same ultimate goal. In 1949, after an investment form news mogul William Hearst, came a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles. This was the moment when Graham is to be said to have become a national religious figure. 30 After being published by Hearst in may newspapers, the crusades ran five weeks longer than planned. This came at a crucial time for America because of all of the scandals postMcPherson and her death. There was a gap in Los Angeles for a religious role, especially since McPherson created that persona that the people adored. Graham stepped in with the support of many local and national figures. Graham had come up with a new form of teaching that was unprecedented on this scale. Graham would often rent a large venue such as a stadium, park or sometimes even a street, where he would preach to the masses then invited listeners to be engaged in one-on-one conversations with a counselor

Space For The Masses who would clarify any questions the inquirer had then would pray that the individual. In a short amount of time, Graham’s crusades were booked in London, New York City, Moscow, Los Angeles, and all around the world. These Crusades were often viewed as modern revival camp meetings, calling people from all around, to come attend a single gathering. In 1954, Graham was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, assuring him a role as a national and worldwide religious figure. After many more years of the Crusades, Graham was featured in the World’s Fair of 1964 in New York City. This brought Graham into a whole new light with the release of Man In The 5th Dimension. The Billy Graham pavilion was second most viewed pavilion behind the Roman Catholic Pavilion. The Billy Graham Pavilion featured a film called Man In The 5th Dimension, which began with Graham delivering the following prologue: “You are about to embark on a breathtaking journey through the four-dimensional world of space and time, into the realm of the fifth dimension – the dimension of the spirit.”31 The film was shown 12 times a day, seven days a week with free admission. The theatre was prepared with audio equipment that allowed viewers to listen in French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese and German.32 Graham was a worldwide figure and took the ideas from camp meetings and revival meetings and converged them with McPherson’s ‘megachurch’ to create massive meetings that he called Crusades.

1 “Charles H. Spurgeon”. Bath Road Baptist Church. Retrieved March 20,2012. 2 “History of the Tabernacle”. Metropolitan Tabernacle. Retrieved March 20,2012. 3 Immanuel ,Christian Hymn-writers ed Elsie Houghton, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Evangelical Press of Wales, Bridgend, Wales 1982 4 “Charles Spurgeon.” Biography. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 5 “Charles Spurgeon.” Biography. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 6 “Exeter Hall, Strand Sermons.” The Reformed Reader. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 7 “Exeter Hall, Strand Sermons.” The Reformed Reader. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 8 “Church History and Christian Timeline.” Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 9 “Church History and Christian Timeline.” Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 10 “The Crystal Palace of Hyde Park.” Crystal Palace. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 11 “The Crystal Palace of Hyde Park.” Crystal Palace. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 12 “Charles Spurgeon.” Biography. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 13 “Charles Spurgeon.” Biography. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 14 William G. McLoughlin, Jr., Billy Sunday Was His Real Name (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955) 15 Dorsett, Lyle W. Billy Sunday and the Redemption of Urban America. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1991 16 “Billy Sunday In Kewanee.” Billy Sunday in Kewanee. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 17 “Billy Sunday In Kewanee.” Billy Sunday in Kewanee. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. 18 Obituary Variety, October 4, 1944 19 The Kidnapping of Aimee Semple McPherson, from the “Los Angeles: Past, Present & Future” Project at the website of the University of Southern California libraries 20 Matthew Avery Sutton, Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America (Cambridge:Harvard University Press, 2007) 21 The Kidnapping of Aimee Semple McPherson, from the “Los Angeles: Past, Present & Future” Project at the website of the University of Southern California libraries 22 The Kidnapping of Aimee Semple McPherson, from the “Los Angeles: Past, Present & Future” Project at the website of the University of Southern California libraries 23 Daniel Mark Epstein, Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson (Orlando: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1993 24 Aubuchon, Vaughn. “Angelus Temple Photo History - Los Angeles.” Angelus Temple Photo History. 13 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.  25 Aubuchon, Vaughn. “Angelus Temple Photo History - Los Angeles.” Angelus Temple Photo History. 13 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.  26 Aubuchon, Vaughn. “Angelus Temple Photo History - Los Angeles.” Angelus Temple Photo History. 13 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.  27 “Who led Billy Graham to Christ and the elder gods”.  28 Graham, Billy. Just as I Am: The Autobiography of Billy Graham. [San Francisco, Calif.]: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997. Print. 29  Sociology and Anthropology Department – 30 The 2010 TIME 100 Time, Billy Graham, June 14, 1999. 31 “Business Screen Magazine, A Pictorial Report on Audio and Visual Exhibition Technique at the New York’s World Fair (1964)” 32 “Man in the 5th Dimension,” In 70mm News / The 70mm Newsletter




Antonio Petrov Can the superordinary be defined as the absence of something, or as something without identity, style or originality, only on a super-scale? Or is the superordinary anything opposite of extraordinary? Looking at the terminology it is very hard to understand if the superordinary is an oxymoron in which the super opposes the ordinary, or it is the absolute opposite in which the superordinary determines the superlative of ordinary to its greatest degree in its ontological form. Although the etymology of what is considered “ordinary” relates to something normal with no special features, in the context of what we determine as superordinary they are anything but ordinary. Is the superordinary something that already exists and is so ordinary that it is familiar, however, it seeks to go beyond “normality,” which is relative, by “concentrating all quality of normality?” In the context of architecture we generally don’t think to design something ordinary. If anything, we fear of people saying our designs are not special. We believe our work is [always] extraordinary, whether we design museums, libraries, or churches. However, in our studies we have explored that superordinary sacred structures are anything else than normal, or not special. Its qualities as products, and instruments of culture, range from critical architecture to


autonomous forms that contrast, or oppose the qualities of extraordinary architecture without ambivalence, or disciplinary pressure, of not being special, or extraordinary. Without being too critical with ourselves we can easily identify how the “creators” striving for self-expression is at odds with the general perception of architecture, particularly in the context of sacred architecture in the United States. There is a certain fatigue toward designs that are “designed.” Perhaps we feel some appeal to things in our lives, especially, in our spirituality, in which not every single detail needs to be designed, or underlie our or anyone else’s authority. The superordinary sacred architectural precedents we have discussed so far are all oxymoronic and superlatives in their own means pushing norms and boundaries “of the possible and at the same time interject a sort of paradoxical coincidentia oppositorum.” They are beyond ordinary, transcending the ordinary. By making them superordinary they don’t become ordinary anymore, they are both superordinary and extraordinary at the same time. This paradox embedded in this connection. They become so exceptional that they seem ordinary. In other words, they are not perceived as extraordinary. There is nothing wrong with the ordinary, or the extraordinary, the superordinary is a result of a long standing tradition in the advancement

What is the Superordinary? of sacred architecture in the United States, attempting to not break with its formal and aesthetic history, but rather to summarize it as instrument of culture. So what is superordinary? Is it something that takes time to understand? Is its history, and relationship to culture holding material and cultural aesthetics that need time to be noticed? Or is it unnoticeable because its aesthetic becomes beauty through its everyday use, or the usage over time? Who wants to have the ordinary if they can have something special?

Shannon Atherton To know what is Superordinary, it is important to know what is Super, and what is ordinary. Once you begin to look at the two interesting and opposing root terms, you are able to see how interesting it is that they make up one term that makes sense somewhere that is visceral to us in a religious context. Most people have an idyllic vision of what a church or religious space looks like, and when we enter that space, it is clear to us that we are in a church, or a synagogue or any other a typical piece of religious architecture that is an assumed typology. But, by looking at religious spaces in America that are defined as superordinary, an interesting contrast comes into play. Is it the space that gives the aura of religion, or the emotion and connections that the space fosters that give the connection? We as architects spend a lot of time trying to create space that is super, rather than its opposite; ordinary. We look to cultural influences, site influences, and the needs of the user to create spaces that will create connections and ultimately be affective to the user while transcending the everyday. Things that are perceived as ordinary are

things that many architects do not want to take on, cubicle layouts, office retrofits, and god forbid toilet layouts, are something that we dread doing for the rest of our careers. But when the two words come together to create one, Superordinary, we throw our perceived notions of the two words as singular objects out, and begin to fantasize about something more. Something that is utopian, possibly impossible to achieve, but wonderful to strive for. We have looked at spaces this semester that are Superordinary, and discovered the history behind them. The example of the meetinghouse, a square box made for and by, a group of people fleeing from religious persecution. If you were to only take one glance at this space you would write it off as ordinary, but is far from that. The Puritans managed to create a new kind of worship, one that defied the ideas of the Super, and made the ordinary, Superordinary. At that time religious spaces often were seen as super, spaces in which you were supposed to be in awe of their size, and feel small in comparison to god. They used their scale to project an aura of “Super-ness�, something that mere man could never attain. The Puritans flipped this completely on its head. They made their religious space something that identified their community, and a space in which all aspects of life ran concurrent with their religious beliefs, and their connection to God. After the Puritan’s, religious spaces in America began to evolve from there. Of course there was eventually an iconic prototype developed, most churches took on the form that we now recognize today. But some churches continued to evolve and adapt based on the needs and the culture of those that worshiped there. Examples include the tent churches, theatre churches, and storefront


Superordinary churches, among others. These all became spaces that are not what you would expect a church to be, but still foster a connection to God, and allow a group to come together and worship. But what makes these spaces superordinary? Is it the fact that they appear to be ordinary, and could be anything but a church? Or is the history of their evolution that makes them superordinary? Looking at the history and evolution of the spaces over time allows us to see how they have progressed to what they are today. We can see that as the American landscape changes, churches and religious spaces changed to meet the needs of the changing culture. But is this what made them superordinary? I would have to say that it played a role, but is not the deciding factor that made this happen. For example, Storefront churches are something that still exist today, the need for cheap or available space brought them to communities that had their own ideas about what worshiping meant to them. The space was an after thought. It was about the sense that they belonged to something more, that the community could gather and connect with God in a way that felt natural to them. That is what makes this space superordinary, It defies what you would think is necessary to connect with God, and provides you with a view of religion that would otherwise be unfathomable, and it works. People that worship in these spaces are loyal to them, and this is shown in their attention making them their own, be it through recycled bus seats, pink paint, opulent lighting, or eclectic signs. It is important to look at this idea that it is the sense of community, and meeting the needs of that community, rather than making a space that fits a view of a religious space that makes the superordinary. Many of the spaces that we looked at have a very strong sense of community; the spaces serve


many functions, and bring people together for many events besides prayer. This connection and connotation with their spaces helps foster the idea of the superordinary. Many of the spaces that we have looked at could serve other purposes, a market, and clothing store, or a municipal building. The ordinary ideas about what they could be. But, this is not their function at all, the serve as a space for a community of worshipers to meet and share a connection with God, something that we perceive as completely un-ordinary for any of those example spaces. The idea that aesthetics play a role in all of this is important as well. We are a culture of images, as we have discovered this semester through our research. To believe that images and aesthetics have nothing to do with preconceived notions would be very naïve of us. If someone were to say to you “Church” nine out of ten people would conjure up some European cathedral, or anywhere U.S.A. main street church from their hometown. But as we have learned there are other spaces in our society that are just as good for a connection with God if not better. Spaces that come into the realm of the superordinary usually defy the idea of this “church” image, or something that would be aesthetically a church prototype. But this does not make them any less good at what their function is, on the contrary. It makes them superordinary, it removes preconceived notions, and cultural ideas of how you are supposed to use, feel and interact with the space. Interaction is also a key in making a space superordinary. If you were to be put in a room were you felt as though you were to be quiet contemplative, and somber, how would you react? Now imagine being a space that is slightly generic, with many people singing,

What is the Superordinary? and smiling and being open about their feelings and praise for God. Which of these would you rather worship in? Although the description here is slightly one sided, it begins to illustrate the point that the connections that you make with others in a space, and the connections that space allows and fosters, become just as important to the experience, as the function of the space itself. Many of the spaces that we have looked at as example of the superordinary do just that, they create strong and meaningful connections, over trying to create a sense of what should be typical for that space. They allow an organic sense of interaction and worship over aesthetics and conceived notions. The idea that the ordinary becomes superordinary through use is important. If none of these spaces were used on a regular bases they would no longer be superordinary, they would be a monument, like cathedrals, or other monumental architecture that you experience on the level that it is forced on you. The regular usage and the functionality of the space is what makes it so interesting. How is it that something mundane or completely opposite from our image of a space of worship can become something that transcends the image and really has meaning. The fact that it is used, and enjoyed by its group of worshipers adds to the idea of it being superordinary. The people that worship in these spaces could chose to leave, get an “A” typical church, present an idealistic image of worship, but they don’t. This is because this works for them, and their ideas about how to connect to God, and to each other as a community. The superordinary becomes something that is very complex. There are many factors that go into what makes the conjunction of the ordinary and the super, become superordinary. These ideas

about aesthetics, community, use, and what we define as ordinary become very important in our realization that the superordinary is all around us. Why have the ordinary when we could have the superordinary? What happens when our ordinary becomes superordinary? Those questions are questions that American’s have been asking themselves in one form of another since the puritans arrived. America as a nation is constantly striving for bigger and better, and looking for ways to make their ordinary superordinary. But, it seems as though the spaces in our culture that actually achieve this are the spaces that are not concerned with this at all.

James Jarzyniecki The term ‘superordinary’ does not, as of late exist, in the English language, its meaning has yet to be defined by any authority on the matter. The terms ‘super’ and ‘ordinary’ both have a place in the dictionary with clean clear cut disambiguation’s. The term ‘super’ refers to something “of high grade or quality,” as defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary. But it is not until the third definition that we received any help from the description, “exhibiting the characteristic of its type to an excessive degree.” An interpretation of this definition would be anything when made in reference to the type, which the thing is, exhibiting “characteristics... to an extreme or excessive degree.” This type that is being referred to is the ‘ordinary.’ Surprisingly the term ‘ordinary’ only receives it most common usage in its third definition; ordinary is “the regular or customary condition or course of things” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. This again reserves meaning only in reference to some culture or construction, which exists to give the


Superordinary “customary condition” meaning. If we are to attempt to, without specific reference, define the term ‘superordinary’ it may go as thus: characteristics of a customary condition to an excessive degree. This definition is not satisfactory as it mirrors the description of the term ‘extraordinary.’ We must find where ‘superordinary’ finds its specific meaning if it is to have any meaning at all. If a thing is described as ‘extraordinary,’ we are describing it, as “going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary.” This describes something markedly different from the regular or ‘ordinary,’ it posits itself as past the norm and exceptional. This then is a new entity devoid, or at least not relaying on, the regular to support it. This will help to make a distinction between the ‘extraordinary’ and the ‘superordinary’ and this is where the ‘superordinary’ may find its meaning. In a reading of coincidentia oppositorum, it can be clearly understood how opposing forces are necessary for the existence of things. The unity of opposites is derived from the thesis of an object and the antithesis that provides the reference point from which to describe each and to clarify them as objects. The term ‘extraordinary’ does not help to further define the term ‘ordinary’ other than by being a ‘hyperordinary’ or ‘veryordinary.’ It is an amplification of the ‘ordinary’ without need of specific reference to the ‘ordinary’ it is amplifying. The definition of ‘superordinary’ may provide this antithesis of the ‘ordinary,’ in a way helping to define each. The ordinary can only exist in its clarity in the presence of the ‘superordinary.’ The ‘superordinary’ may exist without even having any physicality. Heraclitus suggests that every object is substantiated by an anti-object, which gives


the object it’s meaning in an ever-shifting nature. This is to say that in a nature of ever shifting meaning that the meaning retained is one of opposites. So in the ever shifting nature or what is ‘ordinary’ the ‘superordinary’ will provide the clearest point of reference. The latent physicality of the ‘superordinary’ may be picked up by a culture in need of its form or may reside as only an idea helping to further define the ‘ordinary’. Hegel in his theory of dialectics states that the existence of contradiction and the understanding of its opposite is essential to learning. Everything is understood by its opposite and if we only understand something by its own meaning we gain no new knowledge. This is the description of something that is dynamic verses static. Hegel believes that contradiction is dynamic, and produces new knowledge where self-reference becomes static. His equations will do service to further define the ‘superordinary.’ The equation ‘a=a’ can be seen as a self-referential equation where reciprocation yields no knew possibilities for knowledge. Where as, the equation ‘a=(non) a’ describes a cycle of contradiction where the possibility for new knowledge arises. If we can see the ‘superordinary’ in these terms as the ‘(non)a’ and ‘ordinary’ as the ‘a,’ a latent cycle of meaning and anti-meaning plays out. The nature of this relationship helps to distinguish the ‘superordinary’ as a reactive yet productive force. Within the shifting relationships and definitions of a culture, the advent of an ‘ordinary’ event creates with it the nascent ‘superordinary.’ This absence brings with it a further definition of the ‘ordinary’ and a novel description of the ‘superordinary’. The ever-shifting nature of culture is what gives this connection it’s meaning. There exist markers in the culture, vestiges of ideas and physical presences that describe the

What is the Superordinary? ‘ordinary’ and communicate it to the flow of individuals existing through the culture. The greatest example of this relationship can be seen in the cathedral and the meetinghouse. A cathedral represents ideas of a culture in the physical presence of architecture, this lasting presence creates and perpetuates the ordinary by asserting it self. Within the creation of the cathedral came the nascent idea of the meetinghouse. Without specific form and only existing as a vague idea, the meetinghouse existed far before the puritans ever built one. In a explication of the cycle it can understood that the cathedrals presence asserted a differentiation from the ‘ordinary’ profane buildings being in their own ‘superordinary’ for a specific period of time. The meetinghouse then is also subject to this temporality, and only receives its ‘superordinary’ distinction for as long as it lay in reference to the ordinary. The artifact of the meetinghouse helps to speed its distinction from the ‘superordinary’ to the ordinary. The physical presence of the structure instructs the shifting culture to accept the meetinghouse without its critical reference into the practices of everyday life. The size and modesty of the meetinghouse fit the specific culture of the puritans but The physical form was given to the idea under constraints of time, resource, space, and use; these alone do not make it ‘superordinary’ and it is important to note that the ‘superordinary’ aspect of the meetinghouse was the existing idea appropriated by the puritans created first at the acceptance of the cathedral in the culture of Europe. Accepting the temporal nature of the ‘superordinary’ it can only be defined ex post facto. To study the ‘superordinary’ is to always chase something that has just ceased to be. This temporal nature seems to disrupt the study of static buildings, but if we are to

understand the production of space as a social construct, as Lefebvre does, it seems to rely on the inhabitant to engender the space with meaning. That being said, the size and shape of the architecture does not in a specific way make the structure, in our definition of the word, ‘superordinary’. The level to which the architecture takes hold of, or breaks way from, the unformed critical idea in reaction to the ‘ordinary’ will determine its success or failure as a ‘superordinary’ work.

Michael DiSalvatore The use of foreign symbols in the interior of the church would depreciate the value it holds on the patrons. The effect of the mystery is proclaimed through the use of the spectacle. One needs not any imagery at all in order to sense the superordinary because it is self-‐evident. It is something that is so simple and yet cleverly crafted in such a way that inspires such emotion. On the contrary, superordinary could also be that which has been expressed so often, that has become an absence of the ordinary, only depreciating itself as well. With further critique comes the mega church, an architectural expression using its size to speak for itself. Creating a spectacle by its very existence, it draws people in from its monumental image as a place that must be given an attempt to discover it. The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove takes the cultural context of cities and harbors the imagery typically associated within them. Taking on the form of what may appear as a pyramid office building with the glass façade. This promotes a blending in with the ordinary but gives it a twist of secular tradition-‐the highest point climbing to the heavens. The interior of this cathedral is one that is all by what might be expected


Superordinary from the exterior. Becoming a tall space less room, with evident structure, all is revealed about the space, with light pouring in from all sides, it has completely dematerialized what the extraordinary sensation was and made it superordinary. Although at one point, it provided a sense of mystery and awe from the seemingly regular, once revealed, it becomes no longer worth sustaining the imagination. The reveals have given light onto the workings of the mystery, and all that is left is the image of community rather than God. It was been stripped of its religious power and become in itself superordinary.

Sinead Weldon If the term superordinary does not appear in the Oxford American Dictionary, then how can we define it? What elements of our education and daily life allow us to understand how ordinary superordinary really is? Whether it is a skyscraper, memorial, religious space, landscaped park, or government building, each space is designed with the intentions of it being extra superordinary. But what does that word mean by itself? How can we define it and put it into context with architectural buildings and architectural spaces? Superordinary spaces exist all around us and it is important to understand that as individuals, the element of superordinary varies for each space, project, time period, person, and community. The idea of the spectacle comes close to the idea of the superordinary. A visually striking performance or display, the spectacle allows the user to form some type of memory based on the impression it formed. One persons understanding and opinions of a space may differ from the next person, so it depends on individual style


and preference. The spectacle brings about attention from the common people, and may provoke a form of criticism. This criticism allows the people to form a reaction against the work of architecture. Whether it holds success or furthermore a lack of success, the space allows the individual to form his/ her own opinion. A space that is considered superordinary, I believe, is considered to be slightly more or less than the ordinary expectations set out by its user. One example of a work of architecture that can be considered superordinary is the meetinghouse. Starting as a simple white, plain four walled space, the meetinghouse became a place of worship within the community. It was considered to be average, and normal, rising above no means of expectations. Members came to gather and connect with God in this space, and it was used to bring together members of the community for communal purposes. However as religion spread, the need for more space became greatly evident. Communities began meeting in tent like, makeshift structures that were constructed for the duration of the event. People from all over gathered on campgrounds and auditorium like spaces, making a point that no matter where the location is, they will come together to be one with and connect with Jesus Christ. The idea of the camp space began with the procession to the site. The idea was that while driving in your car, you could begin to put your daily life, problems, events, and issues behind you and solely concentrate on your connection with a higher power. This too, is an ordinary concept, of the solitude within the confinement of ones car. When arriving at the campsite some hours later, you would become a small part of a greater community, in which everyone was there for the same purpose. The idea of the

What is the Superordinary? meetinghouse greatly emerged from a small gathering to a large communal extravaganza. Forming a community within the religious world, many citizens were delighted to share their ideas and beliefs with other members of the makeshift “congregation�. This idea of coming together as a community to reflect on one belief was not only important to people at this time, but it became a ritual to pray and form a connection with God. I believe this concept relates back to the idea of the superordinary, because at the time, it seemed like a normal, righteous partakes in life. However today, we look at these events as ordinary, in preaching to a higher power and coming together to do so. The events and length in which they went through to perform these services allow it to be just a little bit more than ordinary for their time. The evolution of the meetinghouse to the campsite religious ceremonies had many superordinary qualities. The idea of a religious space becoming so much bigger and greater than anyone had imagined, and united the citizens of the community. One way in which this occurred was through makeshift spaces that popped up and provided an extraordinary effect on the community. This absence of architecture may be the primary focus as to why the campsites proved to be superordinary. A space, or event in this case, can become an ordinary aspect of life, whether or not it is defined by architecture. In this instance, the meetinghouse and the campsite prove to be absent of an extreme structure. The purity of the meetinghouse, with its white walls, small structure, and lifted entrance, are proven to be only superordinary, and provided a necessary space for worship. The campsites, although they did not have any structure but that of the landscape, also provide an energetic space for the community.

The members of the community that gathered in both spaces are, in my opinion, what make them superordinary. Its evolution through time and concept allowed the world of God to inspire many individuals. The accomplishments and success of the spaces were both effective and affluent to the users of that space. This proves to be superordinary in its advantageous values to the people, and in its growth to multiple spaces, addressing religious values. After the makeshift campsite religious spaces, rituals began to take place in auditorium and theatre spaces. The auditorium spaces allowed many viewers to come partake in the service, or mass; however, they did cause uncertainty to the preacher. The preacher was typically positioned at the highest point in the space, providing a vertical connection up to god. This connection no longer exists in an auditorium like space as the pastor is positioned below the congregation. The positive aspects to a sermon in auditorium like spaces were that the entire body of viewers could be seen in one glance. Everyone was then given the opportunity to see and communicate with the pastor. The idea that the pastor was positioned at the highest point is interesting in its superordinary-esque qualities. Today, while attending mass and sermon, we are used to the pastor/priest at a higher elevation in which we are. We are used to this, and believe that in the church, that is their place, their space, and their personal connection up to God. The theory that they change this position, and upset the congregation is a superordinary factor to this equation. This slight shift in stature shouldn’t promote so much aggravation. But the fact that it did, that it brought so many citizens on edge proved it be a element slightly greater than the ordinary. I see a connection with this idea


Superordinary and the superordinary here as it is something that is looked past today, but something that made a difference during its time. In each of these instances, the idea of the superordinary has become evident in its determinacy of the time in which it is addressed. The location and whereabouts, the time period, and the setting determine whether it is normal, extravagance, ordinary, or less than so. It is important to consider the superordinary in its evolution through time and ideas. Ideas change in reference to time, as do beliefs and capacity of knowledge. What may be considered superordinary two hundred years ago may be considered ludicrous or absurd, in such a way that additionally, as we go about doing something today may be considered illogical. The superordinary transcends the way in which something is perceived and allows us to analyze its contribution to the ordinary. It allows us to see just how average, just how habitual, and just how standard we live our lives. The superordinary can allow us to change that which is constant, and it can allow us to make A difference in our everyday practices. If every piece of architecture strives to be ordinary, where would we be? Where would art, or design be? With this knowledge and perception that we can create something that is extra-ordinary, we must allow the superordinary to identify where this change can be. The superordinary is an average, ordinary trait of an idea or subject, and must make us think beyond the ordinary, beyond the norm. The superordinary is the elements in which we find neutral, the elements of life in which we drive by and become unnoticed. They are the traits of life that we don’t think about, that surpass our consciousness. We must consider what must be done to make a


change and affect our surroundings. How can we, as architects, be better than the norm, and make a positive change on our environments? Just like the meetinghouse, we must take the ordinary, and transform it into the extra ordinary. The superordinary must allow us to form communities and societies in reflection of the necessity and the desire. The beautiful, gracious religious atmospheres in which we are accustomed to today are a direct reflection from that simple meetinghouse, the need for a “white box� and its direct transformation into a tremendous community.


Superordinary CYCLE OF SUPERORDINARY James Jarzyniecki



fo rm


io n

i an rb bu su n tio

organized religion culture-up

organized religion authority-down

personal relationship with god with community house

catch them on the drive



pastoral vs. city

bring the specatcle to the city

move the specatcle from city to city

escape to the pastoral

d 2n ea gr

dominance of the city




ng ni ke w ta

by James Jarzyniecki


What is the Superordinary?

by Whitney Allison


The Bible




For Everyone


The Meetinghouse


The idea of community that had a ce meetinghouse to accommodate the r needs of the puritans within the pasto scape


Tent churches brought the spectacle of religion to the city




Theaters offered a more permanent space for larger gatherings and also began to use earlier principles of communal gatherings



As the city kept growing, storefront churches allowed for a greater quantity of smaller gathering spaces



Moving On Out

x o du


As the culture shifted to a consumer society people began to move out of the city to the suburbs. This transition allowed for individualization of religion through the mass consumption of goods and the idea of the American Dream

What is the Superordinary?


Transition from the pastoral landscape into an industrialized culture, the city

entralized religious oral land-

Camp Meetings

This was a period of pilgrimage out of the industrialized city back to the pastoral in order to become awakened by God

Urban Environment

Cities began to get structured and also become more congested

The Drive - In

Robert Shueller pioneered a service that took the ideas of the consumer society and the individual and created a unique experience that encapsulated transparency and mobility

MEGA Churches

Early ideas of paper architecture saw structures took over entire city blocks, which then intern the buildings become more about the interior rather than the exterior. The MEGA church then needs a framework like suburbs and highways in order to compete with mall like structures. The MEGA church was also very similar to the meeting house on a larger scale.

by Matthew Uminski




What is the Superordinary?

by Benjamin Lebel



Urban Condition

an The Urb

Con su m

dus Exo

When industrialization arrived, people from all over the world moved to American cities in search of work and an all around happier lifestyle that money could buy.

By the 1800s, Tent Churches emerged in cities. They erected in parks, and other open areas in the city which often resorted to the pastoral landscape.

After the Urban Exodus, the city lost it’s identity. The Great Migration of blacks out of the south and into northern inner cities, meant that smaller ‘storefront churches’ began emerging.

“the myth” The Johannes Gutenburg and the printing press.

ism er

The Great Awakenings happened in camps outside the city where people experienced a pilgrimage in order to achieve enlightenment.

Martin Luther and The Reformation. The Great Migration to The Promised Land

Summer camps began 1900s, but did not bec nationwide phenomen 1950s. These camps a growing concerns of b up in cities as well as environments. Parent toughen the boys up a them with nature. Ac from swimming and h friendly games. Churc connected the boys w outdoor services on S connecting them to ea as nature was the ma church camps.

Pastoral Landscape 65

n in the early come a non until the answered the boys being raided suburban ts wanted to and reconnect ctivities ranged hunting to playing ch services with God in Sundays but ach other as well ain focus of

What is the Superordinary?

Designed by Richard Neutra, and later Philip Johnson as well as Richard Meier, in the vision of Richard Schuller and his Garden Grove Experience, created a product of culture which incorporated the vehicle with the religious ceremony. Attendees need not leave their vehicle to partake in the sermon.

Architecture has taken an autonomous role in religious architecture. The role of the Megachurch in society has acquired the necessity rather than a role of furthering design. The Megachurch has become a product of the environment, providing to the people in context. Architecturally, the space could be anything. It is a space denoted for religion, but the architectural expression could be used for a number of functions. The building is ordinary in context; not making an effect inside or outside the space. The concern for architects and architecture is that we have diluted our sense of sacredness to the point where sacred no longer means anything. The sacrality of the space has become a secondary design aesthetic behind the necessary function of large quantities of people.

by Nicholas Ter Meer


STOREFRONT CHURCHES by Michael DiSalvatore & Ian Robinson


Storefront churches have become quite common in urban America. Although, their location in old commercial buildings means that these churches really only have their signs and symbols to separate themselves from the commercial program that surrounds them. There is a large variety of how these storefront churches use those signs and symbols to communicate their presence to the outside world, but it was not always to sell the church and God to the people, as it appears to be today. The early storefront churches were started by African Americans who were migrating form the southern states beginning around the 1910s in an event know today as the Great Migration. They were moving in large numbers to escape the harsh treatment they were still given under segregation laws, and to improve their job prospects to something that would be more lucrative than what was available in the south. However, once they arrived they still had trouble integrating into the northern culture. Most of the groups formed their own small congregations, which fit better with the southern style worship services they had grown accustom to. These early storefront churches were established by those small congregations to give them a separate space to worship that was away from the city life and helped them focus on God.1 Some good examples of the early


Figure 3.1

Storefront Churches

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.4

storefront churches and their signs are from Chicago and New York City. The earliest images of these are located in Chicago taken in the year 1941. In the image taken by Russell Lee (Figure 3.1) of the “Church of God in Christ� it is pretty clear that the church is not trying to sell its wears like the commercial stores that are right next to it. Their focus when they set up this storefront church was privacy. For example, they place large curtains in the display windows and the doors to block the view to the inside from any one just passing by. This also helped keep the congregations focus on the service by minimizing the distractions from the city outside. This storefront church also has very small signs that are lower toward the ground than the adjacent stores. This means that only people looking for the church and have been told it’s there will find it. The average person would treat these windows as if they were boarded up and would pass right by on their way to their next destination. The next image (Figure 3.2), taken by Edwin Rosskam, shows a different approach taken by another early Chicago storefront church. In this case they painted the sign directly on the windows of the old store. The sign is quite large especially in comparison to the previous storefront church however the size is just so that it can fill the window and block views to the interior to add privacy. It also is very simple in comparison to the local eatery right next door, which provides a more visually stimulating subject with is array of advertisements. Fourteen years later in 1955 a photographer took a series of pictures of storefront churches in Harlem, New York City. At this time Harlem had become around ninety percent African American so they did not have the same worries about a harsh white population as the earlier


Superordinary storefront churches2. This changed how the signs identifying these churches were treated. In (Figure 3.3) this church has many more signs that the older ones in Chicago. They are also located in a higher position so they can be seen from far away, which makes it easier to identify by an average person on the sidewalk. Also, because of the minimized risk of white backlash this church is able to play a larger role in the community. For example it not only identifies itself as a “Model Baptist Church” but as a “Model Community Center” that deals with the reduction and elimination of crime. This kind of signage would not be allowed in the earlier storefront churches because this would have an immediate backlash from the nearby white businesses wanting to deny any existence of crime in their neighborhood. The African American population was more accepting of such messages and had a greater connection to these organizations, so the storefront churches were able to present themselves and these messages more publicly. In (Figure 3.4) it is clear that these storefront churches in 1950s Harlem are no longer only trying to have their private space hidden amongst a line of commercial shops, but they are beginning to have a much bolder presence about the fact that they are a spiritual place. Instead of putting curtains for privacy and a small sign these storefront churches have painted their whole windows with simulated stained glass images of holy figures. These large images clearly depict what is happening inside and they catch the eye with their color a visual complexity. In (Figure 3.5) even without an actual sign with words the fake stained glass window painted on the brick wall and entrance door do the job of marking it as a storefront church. Also, back in (Figure 3.3) one can see that the main entry doors are painted with multi-colored


images of the cross. During the 1960s the cities were in decline and whoever could afford to move out did. However, this was one of the strongest times for storefront churches, which have developed a history of social programs, and support for the community became a strong anchor for the hard-pressed family to stay connected to in their otherwise turbulent lives. The storefront churches embraced these ideas and started to identify themselves even more openly than before. One way they did this was to improve their signage and symbols. The majority of these improvements followed one or more of four different strategies for storefront church signage. These four strategies were the large painted crosses, awnings, a large crossattached perpendicular to the façade, and actual architectural modifications made to the old storefront that produced built in religious symbols. The first and simplest form of sign for these storefront churches were painted crosses placed in the most visible section of the building. One excellent example of this is the “Bible Mission of God in Christ Church,” in Brooklyn (Figure 3.6). Here the church put up completely hand painted sign that contains three crosses. Then there is an addition of a small cross to mark the location of the main door into the spiritual space. Another great example of painted crosses is the “Most Holy Place Church of God,” in Chicago (Figure 3.7). This church takes particular advantages of the industrial look of the building they acquired; especially it’s large windows. They painted not only the façade a fresh, bright white, but used that same white paint to create crosses out of each of the windows along that façade. It is clear that they are trying to live up to their name and make every part of their space holy. A

Storefront Churches third example of painted crosses is the “World Missions for Christ Church” in Washington D.C. (Figure 3.8). This storefront church is Located in a particularly interesting corner store building. This condition of the building and the two perpendicular traffic flows around it lead the church to paint three different sides of its building with a cross. As one can tell by the image each cross is unique and each faces in a different direction to give the maximum visibility to the most passing traffic. The arrangement of the three crosses also helps the visitor find the door similarly to the Bible Mission church. For some of the storefront churches the painted crosses were not enough so they used a more engaging and dynamic form of signage for their space, awnings. The first example is the “Straight Way Church of God in Christ Inc.” in Brooklyn (Figure 3.9). This church chose to use an awning not only to be able to compete with the local businesses but to attract people by giving them shelter form the harsh sun or pounding rain and unlike the commercial stores around it the church would not likely turn them away for loitering. The next example of the use of awnings is the “Open Eye Church of God Inc.” also in Brooklyn (Figure 3.10). This church is in a building that is set back and separated from the sidewalk by a fence. The storefront church is taking particular advantage of the fact that the awning is able to reach all the way up to the sidewalk to engage the street more directly than the building on its own would allow. The third type of signage that was commonly used in these later storefront churches was actually more of a symbol than a sign. This strategy places a large cross that stuck out perpendicular to the façade of the building with the church’s name written on it. A good example of this kind of sign

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.7



Figure 3.8

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.10


strategy is the “Saint Luke Baptist Church,” in New York City (Figure 3.11). This church took advantage of the relatively flat and indistinguishable street wall and used its cross to stand out as much as possible. In (Figure 3.12) this storefront church has had a past history of renting out space in a synagogue, so they have developed a beloved nickname, which they have written on the lower sign. However, to make sure people know that it is a church they have added the large cross that steps out beyond the other sign. Since it sticks out and is perpendicular to the façade it is more visible to the average person passing by than the sign below it. A third church, the Atlah church in New York City (Figure 3.13) has taken this cross idea to yet another level by adding on those church message signs underneath the large bright cross. This church is mainly using this sign strategy for the same reason as the “Open Eye Church of God Inc.” which is using their awning to make up for the building setback from the sidewalk. Also, as this last image shows these types of symbol signs are often lit up at night to enhance their visual presence to the people on the street. The fourth common strategy storefront churches use to identify themselves is more of a symbol and is usually paired with a text sign to identify the name of the church. This strategy involves architecturally retrofitting the building façade to include a cross that is constructed out of glass blocks. The “Bible Mission of God in Christ Church” (Figure 3.6) had expanded into the brick building next to it and by that time they had the money to modify the façade of that old store by cutting through the bricks and inlaying the glass blocks in the form of three crosses. Another example of adding the cross windows is the “Principles of Discipleship Ministry” in Johnson City, New York (Figure

Storefront Churches 3.14). Instead of cutting through an existing wall this storefront church bricked up the old corner store windows and assembled the glass block cross into it as the wall was being constructed. As the denominational churches finished gathering all the followers they could form the suburban areas they started to look at the needy inner city as a means to gain more membership. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God came to New York City in the year 1986 and established one of its help centers in Brooklyn (Figure 3.15). This church had already been established in the world and had a lot of money to back up this expansion into urban America. They used this money and the storefront location to really commercialize their sign and sell their beliefs. The sign looks exactly like the sign off of a Walgreens or CVS drugstore. With the churches beliefs being an empowered individual through God, the sign is very appropriate with its slogan portraying that your regular dose of God will make it all feel better. This sign is in addition to the large, very bright, pink sign closer to the sidewalk that displays the actual name of the church. This sign’s job is not only to give the name, but also to focus your eyes like a laser beam on the entrance to the building, which is otherwise obscured by a bus shelter. One storefront church sign that seems to lie outside the norm of words and crosses is that of Christ’s Vineyard CRC (Figure 3.16), which attached a chair in the shape of a hand above the name of their storefront church. It is a small church established in the year 1987, in Chicago, lead by a reformed drug addict who sees himself as a living miracle3. According to Pastor Flores’ story of a life-changing miracle the hand chair most likely represents the hand of God at work in all human lives and encourages

Figure 3.11

Figure 3.12

Figure 3.13


Superordinary those who pass by to pay more attention to the directions God is giving them. Storefront church signs and symbols have greatly evolved since their humble beginnings in the urban north during the Great Migration. They have gone from being just noticeable by the informed resident, to selling God to whomever they can grab attention. This has all stemmed from the roll these storefront churches have played in the inner city communities, which has been growing from small religious support groups to full congregations ever since the early nineteen forties. Pulling The Inside Out Figure 3.14

Figure 3.15

Figure 3.16


The storefront church presents a unique experience to the churchgoer. It is an experience that has broken its place in society and culture and began to expand a language of its own. The path these places have taken is one that has redefined not just an interior and exterior experience but also the architecture. Within these coves cut in the commercialist realm a place is revealed which wants to express that condition to the public by generating an experience that works itself from the inside out. The storefront church originated in the locations of New York and Chicago. The 1920s brought waves of black slaves escaping the south to migrate north. Blacks maintained their faith they practiced in the south and wanted to bring it with them in their travels to the north. Faith was what pushed them through the oppressive times. Once making their escape from the south, the blacks wanted to integrate themselves into their new communities. In the north there still existed however plenty of tension between whites and blacks. Blacks were in need of great

Storefront Churches development into their homes in regards to services. Jim crow laws were enforced and meant there were very few opportunities for blacks to overcome the tensions. Some churches however, began to introduce social services in their buildings. This was a great way to reach out to the newly expanded population. At once, these churches began to grow too large for their own good. The patrons would attend any church they could find capable of holding such a crowd. Jumping from location to location, many attendees still felt unwelcome in their new communities and were again on the move for a better place to practice their faith. After the wars, as more blacks moved to Chicago, whites fled to the suburbs surrounding the cities. This left a barrage of commercial spaces without tenants. Those looking to establish a church under short funding bought the vacant properties. These newly acquired destinations sprawled into something magnificent. The new storefronts could open in any part of the city, as far or as close to each other as possible. The distances of the churches in relation to each other began to decrease, once popularity rose. As commercialism began to rise in its power, a new language developed which set the storefront churches into a desperate fit. At once, they had broken from the ordinary standalone churches. Now, they had become so ordinary in themselves that they needed to again, redefine their image. Up until the post-WWII era, churches had been able to survive by pulling people in with worship rituals and focus on a message. Members attended regularly in order to escape the exterior conditions of daily life. They entered In order to coexist with a community and the emotion of that community. To keep up with the times and

trends of Americanism, the churches could no longer rely solely on spiritual fulfillment. They were pushed to develop a typology that was radically different. They did not provide a sense of fear to the public, but preached a word of love. This was their attempt at providing a sense of life to the areas they inhabited. 1 The storefront churches were important to neighborhoods because they did not discriminate on the number of storefront locations. Those who wished to break off from their groups, did so in order to worship as they saw fit. Religion has evolved throughout the ages and so has the worship involved in the process. The exterior of storefront churches might come across as nothing more than a commercial front. What makes these places really interesting are their relationships between the exterior and the interior. Both the exterior and interior present different qualities in order to provide a sense of identity and purpose. The exterior of the storefront church, differs greatly depending on the location and community in which it exists, however, still maintains a sense of dignity. Originally, storefront churches were seen as nothing more than a commercial hole in the wall. They were meant only for the churchgoers. The only representation that these strips retained any life inside was their symbols on the outside. Throughout the many different religions, the most recognizable was the Christian faith. Their symbol, the cross, was their image to broadcast to anyone familiar with it. However, because many churches had barely enough money to even sustain a venue, most of the funds were not included in exterior design. In Figure 3.17, we have a storefront that might be passed by without any second glance or care for what were inside. It presents



Figure 3.17

Figure 3.18


no extraordinary sense of placement, as well as no sense of invitation. This ideology of a storefront allows for an activation that is brought to life with the community’s participation. On the commercial strip, the only representation of a church is the written word “church.� What is interesting however is that the exterior walls are made of a curtain wall, allowing any passerby to at the very least peek inside as the ceremonies occur. The glazing on the exterior was a tool for the inside. It allowed natural light to pour in from the street, effectively lighting up the church. The power of the glazing also serves as a very effective mechanism as far as drawing in the stray pedestrian. There is no obstruction between the interiors and exterior that begins to tear down any pre-existing barriers. One could seemingly slip from inside to outside without even realizing a transition had occurred. It is one that presents a sense of invitation to the visitor, and giving them an up-front look at the action. In Figure 3.18, we have the First Apostolic Church in Buffalo New York. This storefront church is in a position where it is unable to make use of the transparent calling to the pedestrian. Instead, we find an introduction to symbolism as a form of marketing to the passerby. Walking from either direction down this street, the pedestrian is presented two opportunities to see the Christian symbol. It is easier to read the symbol as a direct correlation to the interior than the glazing is, but also presents its own sense of environment. This church may actually want to fit in with the neighborhood so well, that it could be found as more a private congregation than a large, public one. The span of the church cuts across two available units, and therefore is already largely popular in the area. However, it also turns itself away

Storefront Churches from the pedestrian activity. This storefront contains a wall that can only be seen through above head height. The reason is to keep the closeness that exists in their faith. 2 It is an idea that turns faith away from the exterior presentation and focus’ on the experience and proclamation of faith on the inside. The idea that the exterior and interior exist as two separate worlds is not far off from their presentation in the physical world. As they began, the churches are nothing more than a shell. After evolving to suit the needs of the faith, and represent itself as a whole based on the church members, the interior began to flourish. Local members would donate what they had for the sake of feeling accepted. Some churches displayed these collections right on the pulpit for all to see. The interiors of the churches are ones that can either deny or accept the modes of worship designated to practice. Inside there are no rules or regulations that must be abided by for the sake of the street context. There is exists many varieties in the creating of a place that the congregation wants. A few factors ranging from paint color and placement of seating can play a huge role in effecting the vessel for worship. In Figure 3.19 we have a small storefront church that has chosen to deny its exterior conditioning and focus instead on the interior towards the pulpit. This seemingly ordinary presentation of worship space is concentrating on a higher motive. They are concerned not with the architectural display, but rather on their faith. The seats have become fixed with no room for alternate circulation aside from the center aisle. The lighting reflects itself off the white interior, projecting an even glow. There exist no dark corners in the space as everything is illuminated. In this experience

Figure 3.19


Superordinary we have no means of expression for distraction. The members can come and go without being compared to anything in the room, but rather celebrate with one another in complete equality. As commercialism began to sweep through American culture, business was tougher to identify. Churches wanted to distinguish themselves from the adjacent business. As the development of new technologies made it easier than ever to broadcast products, churches too began to make note. With more and more storefront churches popping up in all areas of the cities, there had to be a more ornate way to call attention to themselves. Currently these stores were placed between or on a strip of a commercial area. As commercialism began to

Figure 3.20


climb, the expression of the storefront church was ready to expand. No longer, could simple cross-paintings on the doors or glass walls make the cut. Churches began to expand their image through signage with a twist into the three dimensional world. Figure 3.20 shows a storefront church that makes the most of its availability. Here we have a church that was able to afford a cross, but only able to afford to attach it to the front wall off the ground. The advancement from the ordinary storefronts may or may not be recognizable as one that is able to use its resources to its best ability. This feature begins the evolution through time as commercialism even still begins to expand. The storefront church in Figure 3.21 presents a further twist on the signage

Storefront Churches by converting the plain cross into a neon light. This is a feature found most common in the huge commercial areas rather than neighborhood churches. The neon lights were becoming prevailing in fashion as they now could grab the attention of the motorist. Previously, pedestrians were only able to attend these churches because they were local to the neighborhoods. Once word got out of the appeal to motorists, churches began to pop up wherever they could. The storefront churches could now showcase a sense of spectacle on their exterior facades, but still needed to transfer that image to the interior in order to continue the trend. In Figure 3.22 a church wants to identify with its exterior image. It has brought inward the moments of ordinary street culture. Neon Lighting, red velvet ropes, and even a sense of an exterior wall, are all reimagined at the pulpit. This is quite fascinating because the spectacle is revealed twice to its members. On the exterior, churches began to make use of neon lighting in order to advertise themselves as a form of console. It was a marketable venture to bring in as many people as possible to celebrate because it would allow the church to continue its funding and most of all, its use. As the exterior of these churches began to become ordinary the interiors still had to display a sense of the spectacle. These exterior signs were limited in their context however. With the emergence of highways to connect the cities to rural centers, road signs began to appear anywhere they could. They were the staple of the evolving church, and once inserted into the fabric it could no longer go back. These exterior signs could be changed often, citing biblical passages or even using humor to appeal to the passerby. The evolution of these storefront

Figure 3.21

Figure 3.22


Superordinary churches shows a big significance in the regularity of occurrences. It is commonplace to walk down a street in Chicago or New York and find one of these locations. The church itself has become to overgrown for its own capacity. One may question where and how the spectacle will develop next. It seems as though any form of entertainment has already been so consumed by commercialism, there is none left. The importance of the interior will be constant as the pastors and congregation are aware that faith is not about blind commercialism but rather the community coming together. It is the interior of the church that has become such a delight, that it reaches a level above the Superordinary. As they are now, storefront churches have expanded to larger buildings due to their commercialized nature. Storefront churches have grown from an idea of the spectacle to an idea that is now ordinary. The constant reach for something original has torn the very idea of a church from its definition. Something that arose, as a special interest among groups has become so overplayed that they had to expand, yet still retain their sense of faith. The architectural language, interior development as well as exterior facades are only as relevant as the message inside. Should the church want to keep the spectacle on the inside or the outside, and in what manner can they retain their individuality without following the others?

1 Boyd Robert L. “The Storefront Church Ministry in African American Communities of the Urban North During the Great Migration: The making of an Ethnic Niche.� Social Science Journal. 1998. Vol 35. iss 3. pg 319. Academic Search Premier. Accessed 17 Mar, 2012. 2 Pinkney, Alphonso: Woock, Roger. Poverty and Politics in Harlem, College University Press Services inc.1970. pg 27. 3 Converted Drug Addict Pastors Chicago CRC. 2006. 4 html 5


THE DRIVE-IN CHURCH by Sinead Weldon & Kelly Quinn


In the 1950s, emerging new social conditions transformed past values by challenging traditional methods and perceptions of religion and sacred architectural expression. A religious awakening started to occur due to postwar fears and the influence of new challenging modern influences. A consumer society developed due to imagery and medias strong new influence over society, which created a decentralized culture. With these new social visions and cultural sensibilities, fear arose within the church. This rise of consumerism, capitalism, influence of media, individualism, and aspects of a mobile society threatened traditional religious arrangements. It began to have a great impact on how people were to consume their religion. The church had to think of new ways to entice people and spread the word. Religion was being overtaken by these new ideas and it had to determine how to appropriately address the current culture. The focus shifted from iconic spiritual representation to a more some more recognizable and commercial. The tensions between the religion and consumerism radically redefined what we view as architecture and the role it plays within society. This inspired new architectural frameworks and expressions. One major influence of the time was the previous invention of the automobile and


this new idea of mobility. By this time cars were readily available and easier to afford, which prompted the creation of a new cultural identity and mobile society. People began to move out of the city and into more suburban areas. Owning a house in the suburbs, your own plot of land, an automobile, having a good job in the city, modern appliances became the standard for living the “American Dream”. There was a new given freedom and movement to society due to this mobility. The idea of a “car culture” emerged that influenced new ways for the individual to engage with their surroundings. Since the automobile and consumerism brought these new ideas of movement and freedom to the culture, the church realized that instead of being housed in one place it could be anywhere or anything. That it could potentially be more then just destined to one certain place, structure, or environment. That in order for religion to keep up with the ever changing society it needed to move away from the traditional sacred architectural context and adapt to the car culture. Churches began to gain more of a public presence through the use of the automobile. Cars gave religion the freedom to move out of the typical sacred space and freedom from a given structure. Inspired by the advantages of mobility, the idea of religion on wheels was employed. (Figure

The Drive-In Church 4.1) This gave the church the ability to spread their religion to the masses. It followed in the path of consumerism, becoming an advertisement. The automobile became a marketing and retailing tool for spreading beliefs and acquiring more followers. Imagery, symbols, and words placed on the automobile inform the viewer, which made it very clear what it was meant for. Sometimes even going as far as to make the car look like a church. (Figure 4.2) This also allowed the church to interact with a broader scale and the evolving landscape. From this, mobile churches began popping up, which moved from site to site and allowed people to quickly stop in and listen to the preaches or stop in to pray/ reflect before heading out and going about their day. (Figure 4.3) Further, this car culture resulted into an edition with the idea of a drive in church. Therefore, followers wanted to hear the word of God would be able to stay in their vehicles instead of heading into the church. Robert Schuller was the main person to head this new idea. He was fascinated by this idea of the automobile and wanted to familiars the seeker with the automobile. This idea of the car being a worship spaced transformed what was known to be sacred space. It was a radical idea that pushed the boundaries and followed the new visions of the present American culture. The possibilities of interacting with the car and religion at the same time gave another new take on how to market religion. Visitors could either hear the preaching from within their car via radio or decide to go inside. The automobile truly reinvented the way we see sacred space in order to satisfy the new consumer driven society. Robert Harold Schuller, an Evangelical leader from Iowa began the phenomena we know as drive-in churches. Originally from Iowa, Schuller had received

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.3


Superordinary his Master of Divinity degree from Western Theological Seminary in 1950. After being ordained as a minister, he began working for a short time at the Ivanhoe Reformed Church in Riverdale, Illinois. With no money and big dreams, he moved with his wife Arvella to Southern California in the early 1950s in search of establishing a reformed church in an area that was absent of one. Unable to not only find a space, but to afford a proper church for this project, Schuller rented Orange DriveIn Movie Theater for ten dollars, as it was vacant on Sunday’s mornings. This use of a drive-in theater as a religious space was odd in its context, however Schuller had a very positive outlook on life, and believed that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. He preached at the drive-in every Sunday morning from the roof of the snack bar, or concessions stand, while his wife played the two manual electronic organs, in which they transported from their home to the drive in every Sunday. The driving force behind using the drive-in theater as a religious space not only stemmed from the idea that it was a cheap, available location to hold services, but it had the opportunity to appeal to the modern aspect of the automobile. The automobile would be seen

Figure 4.4


as the individual worship space, where parishioners were able to remain comfortable in their car for the service. This idea relates back to the camp meetings, as one had to get into their car, and drive a good distance in order to arrive at the religious space. The task of making the voyage from ones home to the site allowed the individual to get out of their everyday element, and begin to form a spiritual space within their car. While the service was grand in its spiritual element, it was the traveling by vehicle that made the event that much more meaningful. I believe that Schuller was interested in these same ideas, trying to provide for an isolated space for the individual while they still could believe that they were part of a larger community. Schuller wanted to familiarize people with the use of the car, television, radio, and other electronic devices, as they were becoming modern commodities. He used these modern commodities as a way to spread his message to the parishioners, as he believed he could bring about a universal spirituality. The idea that a religious sacrament could be held in a everyday space was the most interesting aspect to Schuller’s beliefs. Additionally, the drive in was considered a great place to bring the community together, as it had, “superb accessibility, virtually unlimited

The Drive-In Church parking spaces and seating capacity, and a much larger market of unchurched people.” After arriving in Los Angeles, California, Schuller went door-to-door preaching the sermons he was to give every Sunday. He was very interested in spreading the word of the reform church and making sure everyone knew about it. In his article Your Church Has Real Possibilities, Schuller stated, “If you can dream it, you can do it!” This passion and dedication in which Schuller had towards a secular spirituality was the main ingredient to what brought many members of the community together. In 1958, just three years after Robert Schuller began preaching at the drive in, the congregation grew from zero, to about five hundred individuals and was need of a proper space. Schuller had built a small congregation not far from Orange Drive in Theater, but after some time, it did not prove to bring in the congregation that the drive-in did. The idea that people could remain in their cars throughout the duration of a service was one that proved to be a success. With these ideas in mind, Schuller hired Richard Neutra, a modernist architect, to design and build a walk-in/drive-in church. His modernistic and passionate approach to the automobile made him the perfect candidate for the proposal. Schuller stated, “His schemes of the 1920s an 1930s for drive-in markers are considered paradigms of advanced modernism”. Richard Neutra was the architect of choice for Schuller. Neutra and Schuller had similar visions and ambitions that made each practitioner a perfect match. The pair worked together combining religion and the principles of architecture to develop the first community drive-in church. (Figure 4.6) Garden Grove incorporated Schuller ideas of embracing the automobile and consumerism while Neutra influence the designs

Figure 4.6


Superordinary relationship to the landscape and nature. In a conversation with Schuller, Neutra asked “Why did the churches ever get into the custom of building structures that obstruct from their view the outside, secular world?” Neutra thinking recognized problems within society as flaws and that design according to nature’s principles could solve this problem and create a new sacred aesthetic. As an architect, Neutra was very interested in nature and the built environments relationship with it. His main concern was creating healthy, harmonious environments that are very much influenced by the surroundings. He focuses on the idea of interconnectedness and makes a strong statement that our natural environment provides this connection. “Our well being is dependent on our environment therefore, exacting attention has to be paid to our intricate sensory world”. (Neutra, Richard) With these beliefs, Neutra created a light work structural framework that had large floor to ceiling glass on either side. The glass provided a transparency and greater connection to the landscape. On one end the glass faced the amphitheater style parking lot while the other address the garden on the other side. The garden feature was an aspect of the design because Neutra’s belief that nature and man need to be connected in order to create healthy environments. This provided a flow and relationship between the two different landscapes. Neutra also has a deep understanding of the human life’s involvement with architecture and stresses the importance of human needs and their relationship to design. Neutra was also knowledgeable about the emerging car culture and was interested in creating Schuller’s dream of creating a religious space that familiarized the visitor with these new modern commodities. For


example, Neutra did a famous sketch that shows a car as a space of worship. It depicts members of the community in a way in which they could create an individual space within the car and still form a connection with the church and the members of the congregation. The idea of the car within Garden Grove Community Church was one important aspect that proved necessary throughout both the design and use of the church. Schuller would always inspire others to believe in their dreams, and this was one of his dreams. The church would provide an appropriate location for members of the reformed church to come together, which was his ultimate goal upon moving to California. When coming up with the main design concept behind how the church would be built, Richard Neutra focused on the idea of the automobile and how it would be used in relation to the religious space, as his ideas were very modernistic. His sketch of the automobile during the design process was a driving influential part of the church. The individual space that was created within the car provided for a further development of the drive in theater, and the use of “worship space” within the car. (Figure 4.7) In this sketch, Richard Neutra begins to denote how the cars will be arranged in reference to the pulpit. We begin to see a long narrow structure forming that denotes a great amount of open space opposite to it. The focal point is clearly located through the darkest shading on the sketch, and allows the viewer to understand that the automobiles will be rotated in a way to face that main vertex, in order to be in direct view of Schuller as he preaches. (Figure 4.8) Schuller would speak from the pulpit at the northeast corner, along an operable glass window that could be opened up to the cars on a sunny day. In this image it

The Drive-In Church is clear to see that Neutra plans to have about four hundred and fifty cars, an arrangement that mimics the parking allocation at Orange Drive-In Theater. The idea is that the individuals that are attending the service from their car get the same effect as those who are attending from inside of the church. The individual in their car, however, is able to view the service in comfort, as well as form their own religious space within the extent and limits of their car. When first driving into Garden Grove, you are given the option to park your car, leaving it to enter into the church, or park your car in a location meant for attending the service. If viewing the service from your car, you would park in a parking space that radiates from the pulpit. The parking space allows your car to be lifted up towards the pulpit so that you are in full sight of Schuller. (Figure 4.9) With this slight incline of the car, we see that a vertical connection is made, that parallels a connection that can be made with God. The sky opens up above you and this connection is a further reinforcement of the spiritual space that exists within the car. In order to hear the sermon given by Schuller, speakers were placed in every other parking space so it was accessible to the vehicles. Over time, the service was accessible through the radio in ones car as well as the speakers, so there were multiple options as to how to hear the events going on in the church. The drive-in space of Garden Grove Community Church was just as crucial and important as the interior seating of the pews. Both spaces, additionally, allowed for a direct connection with the pulpit, whether you were inside, or outside in your car. Spatially, the architecture allowed the space to function as a religious space but allowed for flexibility for it to potentially

Figure 4.7

Figure 4.8

Figure 4.9


Superordinary be something else. The notion of aesthetics brought by nature played a huge role. The architecture was simple yet beautiful. The use of glass and a lightweight simple steel structure allowed the interior space to be complete open and free from obstructions. (Figure 4.10) The main focus of the church was to bring the outdoors in, and subsequently allow the inside to flow to the outdoors. This was done by using glass, vegetation and running water. The design wanted to enable to congregation to meet in the openness. The church, indoors, had the capacity to seat 1700 people, while the lot had the capacity to hold up to 500 cars. A sliding glass wall was positioned on the north façade, and was operable during a worship service. This enabled Schuller to not only preach by being seen by members of the congregation who were seated inside, but to be seen as well by those seated in their cars. They were able to hear the service through speakers placed within the parking lot and later the radios in their cars. The design was also based of an axis that came off of the placement of the podium. These axis lines radiate off the placement of this podium, which can be clearly seen from the design set up of the parking lot. Unlike a traditional church set up, the podium was off center so people inside and those who were in the car could still see the preacher. This design implementation shows how architecture was able to adapt to Schuller’s religious practice. The asymmetrical design focused on the elevated pulpit and emphasis the importance of view to the exterior assembly of cars and garden. (Figure 4.11) The main entrance has a overhang that extends out into the landscape and provide a space for the car to go under. Schuller’s decision to build an


adjacent tower was to provide a connection to the physical and spiritual world. He wanted to generate a symbol-in-space that would transmit Christ to the public. His message was that “there is an eye that never closes, there is an ear that is never shut, and there is a heart that never grows cold.” In 1968 the “ Tower of Hope” was built. The structure not only acted as a marketing technique, but also gave the congregation more space. The architectural aesthetics was a mixture of modern forms and symbolism. It was a thirteen-story structure and provided office spaces, additional religious spaces and housed the first twenty-four hour live counseling center in America. A large cross was placed at the top of the tower and glowed at night. (Figure 4.12) Schuller really wanted people to use this hotline and hoped that it would let people know that you can always turn to God. That God is always here for you. The tower truly acts as a marker within the landscape. The tower was meant to bring seekers spiritual nourishment. The counseling center was for anyone young and old and had trained psychologists to aid those who need the help. The surrounding landscape and environment greatly influence the design. Along with the 600 hundred parking spaced lot another ten acres of land was devoted to the desired natural landscape. Natural stone, lawns, vegetation, and water were all the natural elements used. The garden has a long reflecting pool that mirrors the sky and surrounding environment. Garden Grove Community Church was a denominational church. Schuller believed that new forms of American life called for new forms of worship and church life. Rather than titling the church as a reformed church, they decided to make it a community church, as there were not many

The Drive-In Church

Figure 4.10

Figure 4.11

Figure 4.12

individuals affiliated with this type of church in Garden Grove, California. He believed that this would bring more members to the congregation and would be able to form a larger community. Schuller stated, “It’s obvious that we are not trying to impress Christians, we’re trying to make a big, beautiful impression upon the affluent nonreligious American who is driving by this busy freeway.” In the years following the construction of Garden Grove Community Church, the congregation continued to grow and the need for more space became evident. Robert Schuller knew that additional space was needed to hold members of the community in order to continue to bring about new life to the church. The new church was named the Crystal Cathedral, and construction began on it in 1977. Schuller stated, “When the local congregation reached 10,000 and we needed a bigger church building, I remembered how wonderful it had been at my little drive-in church (where the ministry began in 1955) where there had been no walls or ceilingit was there I fell in love with the sky! And that’s why we built the Crystal Cathedral with walls and a roof of glass-crystal-clear glass that lets the sun and sky sparkle through our wonderful sanctuary.” Eighteen million dollars and just three years later, the church was completed. Robert Schuller selected Philip Johnson, a well-known architect, to design the building. It spans about four hundred fifteen feet in length by about one hundred twenty feet in height. At a grand scale, it seats more than 2,500 people, a number much larger than that of Garden Grove. There are over ten thousand panes of tempered silver-tinted glass supported by steel trusses. From the outside, you solely see the glass panels, whereas on the inside, you are fronted by many steel members.


Superordinary The space was subsequently designed for the purpose of televising the services and spreading the congregation to families and individuals at home. In Beyond the Cube, J. Francois Gabriel stated, “The cathedral’s glass skin and structure both the idealized suburban Southern California context: a part of the United States that, more than the most, romanticizes the benefits of civil liberties and unlimited choice. The building’s overt embrace of the television and automobile, two of the most important postwar technological influences of contemporary culture, adds ammunition to the project’s ability to accommodate an additional and, one suspects, an increasingly authentic set of myths.” (Figure 4.13) The constant influences of technology have time and time again made an impact on the design and evolution of this church. Allowing individuals to view a service from not only their car, or their radio, but through their television sets at home, allows the congregation to reach out to an infinite number of individuals. People all over the world can tune into the events occurring at the Garden Grove Community Church (now Crystal Cathedral) and form that desired solitude space that has been longed for, and evident, in the camp meetings and original drive-in movie space. Today, Garden Grove has unfortunately been sold in response to the declining economy. Robert Schuller has retired from the church, as he is currently in his late eighties, and can no longer deliver sermons to a congregation so large. His legacy of the church will not be lost, as he has made quite the impact on individuals all over the world.


Figure 4.13

EVANGELICAL’S PAVILION by Shannon Atherton, Carlie Biron, Ben LeBel & Jennifer Wrynn


Throughout its history, the Worlds Fair has taken on the changing rolls of culture and adapted to the different movements of each age. Cultural rolls and movements, united by common goals with everchanging worldviews, dictated the themes of the individual worlds fairs. Between 1851 and 1938 the Worlds Fairs focused on Industrialization and the growing city, focusing on new innovations in technology and manufacturing, bringing the industrial revolution to the forefront of the fair. In 1939 there was a transition to an era with an emphasis on Cultural Exchange, which lasted until 1987. The idea of a Cultural exchange was a movement to understand culture beyond your own, including national culture, technology and religion. Finally from 1988 until the present day the Worlds Fairs have been focused on National Branding, creating universal images associated with individual nations. The architecture of the 1988 through present day Worlds Fairs demonstrates the desires of countries to create their places in the world of architecture, branding themselves through their representations at the fairs. During the Cultural Exchange era, with its focus and theme on the motto of “peace through understanding,� the 1964 New York Worlds Fair was the first to introduce religion into the context of the Worlds Fairs. This was


an important addition and a pivotal turning point in the Fairs history. Religion had always stood apart from and never retained a place within the Worlds Fair, being was seen as an entity to be kept separate from the public fairs. But through the 1964 fair, religions began to use the fair to advertise their religion and to attract new followers to their church. Some religions grouped together to create multidenominational pavilions, while others advertised solely for themselves. There were seven different religious pavilions at this fair and each of them employed different ways of attracting people to their pavilion including: the use of new technologies, famous works of art and the idea of the complete spectacle. The architecture of the pavilions was, in a way, a physical manifestation of the individual churches views on culture, religion and philosophy. Certain pavilions were modeled off of historic, existing churches and others were completely new interpretations of faith and employed new methods of attracting visitors from afar to explore their pavilions and religions. These religious pavilions were dispersed throughout the fair within the two main fairgrounds, the Industrial area and the International area. In the Industrial Area there were three pavilions, the Mormon Church, the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic

Evangelical’s Pavilion Church, and the Protestant and Orthodox Church (Figure 5.1). The Mormon Church was a replica of the “mother church” in Salt Lake City, Utah was advertised as “A striking pavilion, dominated by an artificial cloud and set amid ever-blooming gardens, contains twin exhibition halls that provide movies and dioramas telling the story of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Traditional in its construction, the Mormon pavilion calls reference to the historic vernacular of the cathedral with a dominating vertical axis and an emphasis on the theories of the axis mundi (Figure 5.2). The pavilion was also surrounded by gardens so that it had a connection to the landscape, and although this pavilion was not superordinary, it is one example of how a new construction of a pavilion could be interpreted from past religious values, and reinterpreted into new forms of architecture (Figure 5.3).

The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic church pavilion was one that was taken directly from the past as an exact replica of the historical Russian Orthodox chapel built at Fort Ross, California, in 1823, at a time when the Czar was claiming part of the West Coast as Russian territory. Although newly constructed, the ideas were taken from the 16th century, and the Russian Orthodox Church advertised their religion that way in order to draw in a group of people who are interested in the traditions and history of the religion. The last pavilion in the Industrial Area was the Protestant and Orthodox Church pavilion, which was sponsored by the Protestant Council of the city of New York. This pavilion was a multidenominational pavilion to explain their beliefs in the same space with the common theme “Jesus Christ, the Light of the World”. There was also a 41

Figure 5.1



Figure 5.2

Figure 5.3


foot contemporary stained-glass screen that attracted fairgoers to the pavilion and inside there were booths that displayed the different types of religion and offered may different amenities such as a theater, garden, and child care center. The Protestant Orthodox pavilion also makes various connections to super ordinary architecture, and the discourse that defined it. Much like modern icons of religion, a 19 story metal cross in Texas for example, the Protestant Orthodox pavilion employed a large spire to draw visitors from a far to the pavilion and religion (Figure 5.4). The articulation of the pavilion with its ambiguous interior/exterior spaces and hierarchy of architectural elements, also has a striking resemblance to the garden grove drive in church (Figure 5.5), and relates to the ideas of the mega and metachurch with its integration of numerous pieces of program and activities (Figure 5.6). In the International Area there were four religious pavilions; the Vatican Pavilion, Sermons from Science, Christian Science and the Billy Graham Pavilion (Figure 5.7). The Vatican Pavilion was the most popular pavilion, not because of its architecture or religion, but because it showcased the PietĂ . The 1964 Worlds Fair was the first time that the Pieta had traveled outside of the Vatican

Evangelical’s Pavilion since it was installed in 1499. In order to see this piece of art, each person had to enter the pavilion and ride on the conveyer belt that moved them past the artwork, and it is said that in order to actually see the piece of art fully one must go in 2-3 times to fully experience it. It was not very superordinary in its architecture, but it was the most popular religious pavilion at the fair because of the Pieta and because one had to enter several times in order to truly experience the piece of art. The Sermons from Science Pavilion was an effort to join together religion and science by showing a movie that links science and nature together and integrating architecture with nature and spectacle. Then off of the main auditorium space there were conference rooms so that after viewing the movie there could be discussions about what people had viewed and their reactions towards the joining of religion and science. In order to attract people into the space the pavilion utilized the spectacle by shooting fire into the air from pools of water that surrounded the pavilion. The architecture was designed so that the pathway to enter the auditorium circumambulated around the building and

Figure 5.5

Figure 5.6

Figure 5.7



Figure 5.8

brought the people past the spectacle and into the main space that could hold up to 500 viewers at a time. Though the Sermons of Science pavilion was based off the principles of intertwining and displaying new science and nature, the basis of the building relate back to one of the more simplest religious vernacular spaces, the meeting house. The layout of the main interior space was set in the round, with the audience facing the preacher and/or movie (Figure 5.8). The Christian Science Pavilion also utilized spectacle to attract people to their pavilion, and they used fourteen lighted fountains around then pavilion 100 feet in diameter to catch peoples’ eyes. Within this pavilion there were many different sections that had reading rooms to engage with the bible or rooms that people could listen to testimonials of healings that the Christian Science religion had preformed, and then behind these areas was a park for relaxation and contemplation. Billy Graham Billy Graham was born on November 7, 1918 near Charlotte, NC. He was baptized into a Christian family that


regularly attended the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Graham was first exposed to the evangelical religion and revival meetings, during the early 1930s, by preacher Mordecai Fowler Ham. Graham graduated from the Florida Bible Institute in 1940 with a Bachelor of Theology. Graham went on to pursue a career in the Evangelical religion throughout the 40s and 50s, where he led various numbers of Christian evangelist organizations. Graham was well known for his sincerity, personal attractiveness and vitality though his preaching style. (Figure 5.9) Graham gained national recognition in 1949 with the first large-scale revival meeting conducted in a circus tent in a Los Angeles parking lot. (Figure 5.10) With the Los Angeles revival meeting, and Graham’s popular preaching style, he caught the eye of news front man William Randolph Hearst, which further aided in the spreading of his movement. In 1950 Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelist Association (BEGA) alongside preaching on the weekly radio program called The Hour of Decision. The Hour of Decision became so successful that it broadcasted across the world for more than 50 years. Graham’s success as an Evangelist

Evangelical’s Pavilion

Figure 5.9

Figure 5.10

can be awarded mostly to the widespread amount of advertisement he received through national radio and television. (Figure 5.11) During the 1950s, Graham’s association, BEGA, began to plan crusades or large-scale evangelists meetings around the United States and the world. It was reported in 1957 that Graham held up to 5 crusades a year. During a “typical” crusade, Graham’s team would rent out a large stadium, park, or abandoned warehouse to reuse as their space to preach the gospel and invite people to come forward and accept their commitment to God. After the sermon, Graham’s team would provide opportunities to meet with counselors to speak about their faith and acceptance of the religious commitment. Materials such as resource booklets or even the Bible would be handed out to the interested parties. The crusades were the first large-scale religious events to be broadcasted on television. Broadcasting enforced how quickly Billy Graham was able to influence his movement into people’s interests and mainly into their living rooms. One of the most prominent and influential crusades in Graham’s career was The Greater London Crusade of 1954. This was the first crusade held by the Evangelical leader overseas, which took place in London’s Herrington Arena. (Figure 5.12) The Greater London crusade caused Graham’s influence to spread into international acceptance and also marked a turning point in his career. The London Crusade was one of the longest crusades Graham ever conducted; lasting for about 3 months in an area that sat a total of 12,000 persons.

Figure 5.11



Figure 5.12


Evangelical’s Pavilion The Billy Graham Pavilion In 1964, the third major Worlds Fair to be held in New York City was planned to depict a portrait of the new age, the technological utopia that the world was producing while also introducing the display of religion and how religion could fit into this new utopian world. The owner and planner of the fair was a man named Robert Moses. Moses offered parcels of the fairs land rentfree to religious denominations that would build pavilions. The purpose of this was to encourage as many religious practices as possible to join in the fairs presentation. The need for the expression of religion was directly related to the previous Fair of 1939, which portrayed the ideal lifestyle, however left out the most important aspect, religion. The overall layout of the fair also enforced the American dependency on the automobile and highway. The character of the religious buildings employed a popular version of midcentury modernism, characterized by glass, steel, and unornamented facades. (Figure 5.13) The architectural style was associated with the corporate capitalism of the postwar era. The religious buildings were encouraged by Moses to create a more “wholesome” image, which contradicted the honky-tonk of entertainment zone of 1939. The Billy Graham Pavilion was designed by Edward Durrell Stone, and was located near the main entrance gate along New York Avenue. The location of the pavilion was crucial and conveniently placed to encourage as much pedestrian access as possible. In terms of cost, The Graham Pavilion was the only pavilion backed by donations to break even. The building occupied a total of 60,000 square feet. The design was an octagonal edifice surrounded by landscaped gardens. (Figure 5.25) In the landscaped

gardens and exhibit galleries there were placed 14 pictures of Billy Graham’s work along with a transparent globe showing the places to which Graham carried his crusades. The Interior of the Pavilion was an airconditioned “theatre in the round, expected to house approximately 400 persons at a time with its commodious and comfortable seating”. The material within the theatre was red-carpeted and gold draped with a 50-foot wrap around screen. The interior also included counseling rooms and administrative offices. A 90-foot tower, topped by a gold sunburst, was placed adjacent to the building and served as a viewing beacon for visitors of the fair. (Figure 5.14) Man in the 5th Dimension The film, The Man In The 5th Dimension, was a 28-minute film that portrayed Graham’s Evangelical message through storytelling. (Figure 5.28) Graham displayed himself in scenes that depicted mankind’s wonders of space and science, and also within the setting of natural landscapes. The film was depicted on a somewhat curved, 50-foot wrap around screen. The film was played daily every hour from 10 am to 10 pm. Like many other pavilions, headsets were given to broadcast the film in other languages. Statistics of the fair reported that the film received a total of more than 5 million views. It was stated that about 5% of the viewers who saw the film sought out the counseling services provided by Graham’s team, which was a much higher percentage than the actual crusades. Viewers and followers were said to have come from about 55 different nations. Follow up work for those who decided to commit to the journey with Christ, included Graham’s counselors referring someone to a local church near their hometown. The



Figure 5.13

Figure 5.14


issues that arose with so many different nations visiting the pavilion and seeking guidance were the inability to find churches in close proximity of the visitors’ homes. The film also acquired visitors who were priests looking to help or aid in Graham’s evangelical movement. As previously stated some of the scenes in which Graham was present depicted images of the stars, constellations and the galaxy. Graham used these images to compare the wonders of the universe to the teachings of God. In the film Graham states that “the Bible never tries to prove the existence of God, he assumes it. “ Graham claimed that the powerful instruments man uses to examine the starry universe are so small that they only scratch the service to what our true meaning. (Figure 5.15) Graham believed that the instruments humans make, the wonders of the human body, and also the fascinations of the natural world only further explain the existence of God. Graham structured his pavilion and the style of the movie in a response to what was happening with American culture and the role of religion at that time. During the 1960s, America saw a rise in church going at the end of World War II and the onset of the Cold War. At the end of the movie Graham encourages one to accept the commitment to faith no matter what religion you were. At that time in history people were looking towards religion for answers and stability, and Graham used this knowledge to spread his word in a way that promoted security and understanding by stating that it didn’t matter what religion you were. Graham also used the technique of relating the narrative of the Man In The 5th Dimension to scientific messages found at other pavilions of the fair. Both the Man In The 5Th Dimension and “The Searching

Evangelical’s Pavilion Eye” showed scenes from nature. Both the film “American Journey” and Man In The 5th Dimension made connections to the nations past by quoting significant historical figures, such as George Washington. The primary theme of the film celebrated “to be alive”. Overall the film managed to grasp the underlying pulse of the Fairs broader themes, connect to the present needs of American citizens, and ultimately show the importance of religion in American life. A Response to Culture The 1960s saw America in a time of great change and upheaval. For the first time, Americans saw a man walk on the moon, (Figure 5.16) a war come into their living room on the nightly news, and under represented populations demand equal rights. There was no other time in American history where the world as we know it became so small, and so large, all at the same time. But, with great change comes fear, and some Americans shied away from this leap into the new world, and returned to their traditional roots. Americans of the 1960s turned to religion and religious leaders, to ground them in a time where things seemed uncertain. They fled from the cities in droves, in search of the “American Dream” in the suburbs. Never was there a time before where our cities were deemed as drug ridden and dangerous, and therefore cleared of “slums” and filled with high rises. With great social change, American values and culture began to present itself within events, media and politics, and the 1964 World’s fair is no exception. The World’s Fair called for an idea of “Universality” that could distinguish the fair from a local event, to a global event. All talents were to be engaged at this fair,

Figure 5.15

Figure 5.16


Superordinary representing the idea of globalization and advancements that were happening in the world at that time. The objective of this fair according to Robert Moses, the fair president; was “to extend beyond mere holiday into the great Quo Vadis which arrests our heedless flight and challenges our common inescapable humanity.” Moses, an already very well know cultural figure, sought to make the fair into an event of grandeur, and a great source of revenue. The previous World’s Fair in New York, (1939) had been a great financial loss, but had transformed a dump in Queens to a large park, which Moses had great influence on. (Figure 5.17) Moses was the parks commissioner for New York at the time, and liked the idea that the fair commission would convert the area to parkland, with no expense to the city. As with many previous fairs, there was an overall theme that was portrayed. “Peace Through Understanding” became the slogan of the fair. During the 1939 World’s Fair, the main theme had been into the future, which depicted the world of the 1960s. The 1964 fair then became a direct response the to fair of 1939, which had posed the question, “In a developing and expanding world, does man need religion?” It became clear that the fair committee and America as a whole had an answer, and it was yes. America saw a huge shift in religion between WWII and the Cold War, it began to see itself as a “defender of western civilization” and fell back on traditional values, including religion. Religion in America, unlike some places is voluntary, thus the fair became a way for the different religions to promote themselves through pavilions, and events at the fair. The 1960s saw a “world at a crossroads”, and many religious leaders saw this as an opportunity


Figure 5.17

Evangelical’s Pavilion as well as a means for “salvation”. This made religion commoditized like any other industry or product pavilion. (Figure 5.18) The fair gave little recognition to the religious buildings in the changing times; many of them did not help explain man’s spiritual problems in a technical time. The pavilions alike did not treat the new age that America had entered properly. It became a matter of charismatic religious leaders using their ministry to draw people into the fair, and give them something other than products, and capitalist ideas to believe in. Capitalism & Suburbanization Although the fair saw many spiritual pavilions, the fair itself had a completely industrial sector. Manufacturers, Banks, and business alike were all represented. Their pavilions were representations of their

products, and almost every product that you could think of was on display, putting products, and capitalism at the forefront of the fair. The ideas of capitalism and religion intertwined in a way almost to say that capitalism was a way to god. Capitalism in respects to America was see as “the right thing to do”, the anti-communist thing to do. Capitalism represented America, and its ideals. The 1960s were a time when traditional family ideals about religion and the family unit returned. To reflect this, the government added, “In God we Trust” to all America currency, and “One Nation Under God” to the pledge of allegiance. Americans wanted to show the rest of the world that they were a devout nation, and through capitalism and money they were able to do this. What better way to prove your belief in God than to put it on the money that you are passing

Figure 5.18


Superordinary around an ever-shrinking world? With capitalism and the return of traditional values, the draw of the suburbs became very strong. With racial tensions of the 1960s rising, and crime in the inner cities at an all time high, white middle class Americans chose to leave. America’s cities and once lively urban neighborhoods became blighted, and marked for demolition. They were to be replaced by super highways that would allow the suburbanites to only travel into the city when necessary for work. The fair itself did not escape this trend. The location for the fair was chosen on the site of the 1939 world’s fair at Flushing Meadows Park. The former dump was filled and developed as parkland for the 1939 fair. It was easily connected to the city by new infrastructure, and brought people out of the city to show what the suburbs had to offer. Its trees, grass, ponds and green space offered a respite from what most New Yorkers saw as a dense over crowded, dingy city. The fair worked to show all aspects of life and culture on the forefront of the future, and the site itself worked to show people this as well. The draw from the city to the suburbs became in itself an exhibit, and the draw was provided by the cultural icons of the time. Billy Graham, and his Pavilion in Relation to Culture Billy Graham was seen as a cultural icon at the time and it only makes sense that his pavilion was one of the most popular at the 1964 World’s Fair. By using Graham’s popularity and charisma, the fair itself was able to hide some of its shortcomings in representing the culture. Graham’s ministry has become something on a global level, and represented worldly ideas for that time. Americans wanted to see more representation


of the role of religion in American life. Graham became a pivotal figure at the fair because he not only represented American traditional values, but he also had strong anti- communist beliefs, that most American identified with. Although Graham himself looked indifferently of culture and origin, this was a means to grow his ministry, tying into the underlying themes of the fair. Billy Graham’s evangelical Pavilion saw success because it blended into the times more than any other religious attraction at the fair. Graham’s pavilion presented religion in a way that reflected the culture of media and image. The pavilion used a medium that people of 1960s America were comfortable with, and could identify easily and absorb. Modernist architecture, and a movie made the pavilion a non -threatening place, even for those entering the space that did not identify themselves as evangelical. The pavilion was described as a modernist “architectural jewel” designed to present a clear gospel message, to those who would come from all over the world. The pavilion itself sat at the “heart of the fair” (Figure 5.19) as to attract a wide range of visitors who were hoping to see what the world famous Billy Graham had to offer. Interestingly enough, Billy Graham’s pavilion made the third highest amount of all the religious pavilions, without charging an entry fee, which the two leaders did. (Figure 5.38) Graham, his pavilion and his movie were able to transcend evangelism, and attract people to the idea of Christ in a transforming world. The idea of a shrinking globe is reflected in the pavilions modern and simple style, with no ornament, and clear reflection on function. The pavilion itself took a back seat to the main event at the pavilion, Man In The 5th Dimension, Billy Graham’s, religious movie.

Evangelical’s Pavilion Man In The 5th Dimension became so relevant to the fair because it allowed its message to be passed through a relevant cultural medium. The idea of a shrinking globe in an expanding universe greatly affected the “Man” movie. Graham was able to situate his ministry’s message within a framework that was relevant to the historic and scientific messages of the fair. Man In The 5th Dimension built on the message that it feels so much better to be alive once you have found something greater than you, something spiritual. A traditional Graham was seen as on the cusp of culture while the movie pictured him in a technologically advanced setting. (Figure 5.20) By stating his admiration for what science could tell us about the universe, it proved that evangelism had taken great strides from its strictly traditional beginnings. It also served as a criticism of Futurama, showing clearly that religion did have a place in an advancing world. Billy Graham’s pavilion was one of the only religious pavilions at the fair that made the most money. It collected all of its money through donation, and did not charge a fee to view Man In The 5th Dimension. But over a million people saw the movie, and provided some kind of donation to Graham’s ministry after the movie. This clearly shows that unlike other religious movies, and pavilions at the fair, Graham was able to adequately tap into the feelings of the viewers, and their belief in Christ. The 1960s were a time of great change in America and across the world. American’s saw a war from across the world in real time, as well as rioting, and social upheaval in their own cities. It is no shock that many Americans found comfort in the return to the traditional, and to religion. But, what was not clear to Americans was that

Figure 5.19

Figure 5.20


Superordinary they were already in a new world. Advances in technology and science meant that they could not return to what they knew as traditional, they had to make a new traditional for the time. Capitalism, suburbanization and religion all had an influence on this. Americans reinvented traditional, and defined it with religion, and the belief in Christ, with being a consumer in a growing capitalist society. Religion became connected with commerce, and Americans saw the 1964 Worlds Fair, with its religious pavilions and industry, as one stop shopping.

The Official Guide of the New York Worlds Fair 1964-1965 Religious Attractions at New York World Fair 1964 Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Historical Background bio.html Pavilions & Attractions - Billy Graham Pavilion - Page Seve n The Billy Graham Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair “Man in the 5th Dimension” Written by: Eric Paddon, History teacher, County College Of Morris, New Jersey, USA < news/2005/5th_dimension/chapters/pavilion.html> Graham Pavilion To Jump Fair Gun By George Dugan New York Times (1857-Current file); Mar 7, 1964; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2001) pg. 26 Remembering the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair CELEBRATING 60 YEARS OF BGEA HISTORY The Infography about the New York World’s Fair of 1964/1965 Rambusch, Robert. “Mirror of Culture”, Theology Today: October 1965 vol. 22 no. 3 338-348 The Billy Graham Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, Eric Paddon After the Fair: Converts and Red Ink Billy Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Historical Background In Search of A Symbol, THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY August 15, 1962, P.976 Nicoletta, Julie. Networks of Power: The New York World’s Fair of 1964-1965, Tacoma: University of Washington, 2008.


THE COLLAGE CHURCH by Whitney Allison & Elizabeth Quigley


The church has been an everevolving entity in the United States since the puritans arrived in the early seventeenth century and established the meetinghouse. When the pilgrims left Europe, they abandoned the cathedral, the dominant type of church that had persisted as the religious building archetype for centuries. After this dramatic shift from cathedral to meetinghouse, the church has been continuously changing in the United States. In her book When Church Became Theater, Jeanne Kilde attributes the longevity of Christianity to â&#x20AC;&#x153;its capacity for change.â&#x20AC;?1 Since the meetinghouse, the church has borrowed from various typologies, tacked on spaces and program, grown to accommodate the masses, and embraced the technology of the time. This organic growth of the church follows a collaging pattern rather than carefully planed out sequences. Changes in the church result from changes in culture and society, rendering the church an artifact of culture rather than an autonomous form.2 Although the evolution of the church is so intrinsically bound with changes in culture, it should be seen as critical architecture, or lack there of architecture. What makes the church superordinary is the way that provides people with a space where intangible spirituality meets real people and a defined community. The spirituality, the presence of something


ethereal, is what makes a church a church. The autonomy of spirituality combined with cultural forces is what generates the form of a church. Over the past four centuries, society has undergone many changes, and each of these changes impacts the form of the space for worship. When the puritans came over and established the meetinghouse that was the blank slate. Since then, ideas in religious practice have grown and overlapped. This is why the church is a collage rather than a carefully planned utopian building. A collage can be most easily understood in a pictorial sense as an assemblage of images, pulled from various sources, taken out of an original context, and arranged in a way that creates a new, complex image. In visual art, Pablo Picasso popularized the collaging technique in the early twentieth century. (Figure 6.1) The notion of collaging can easily be transferred from the world of two-dimensional imagery to that of architecture. Colin Rowe, architectural historian, critic, and theoretician, explores architecture and the city as a collage in the book Collage City. Written with Fred Koetter in the late 1970s, this work is a critique of modernismâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s utopian approach to city planning. It offers more postmodernist ideas of urban development, arguing for more of a collage technique to city planning rather than the modernist method of total design. In

The Collage Church order to express exactly what the difference is between modernist utopian design and the organic collaging strategy, Rowe references the engineer and bricoleur dialectic that was introduced by Claude Levi-Strauss. In 1962, Claude Levi-Strauss, a French Anthropologist, wrote The Savage Mind. In this work, he developed a comparison between the “bricoleur” and engineer. Levi-Strauss defines the engineer as being balanced and virile; he approaches architecture mathematically, with a defined set of tools and kit of parts. The bricoleur, on the other hand, is adept at making due with whatever materials he finds. (Figure 6.2) He borrows materials from former projects in order to cobble together something new. Levi-Strauss sums up the difference between these two beings, stating “the engineer questions the universe while the ‘bricoleur’ addresses himself to a collection of oddments left over from human endeavors.”3 These are two extremes of viewing the world and making sense of what it offers, and in Collage City, Colin Rowe suggests that architects lie somewhere in between. Collage City offers an obituary for the city. According to Rowe, the city has died because of the utopian formalism of modernist city planning. He states that the “bricoleur” is a much more accurate paradigm for the architect/urbanist than the engineer. When modernist methodologies and systemics play such a major role in urban planning, the city will die. Rowe also makes it clear that the architect cannot be entirely the bricoleur, “the savage mind of the bricoleur! The domesticated mind of the engineer/scientist! The interaction of these two conditions!”4 What Rowe means by this “interaction” is that architecture should not give into ad hocery, neither should it be seen as an exact science. This is an important idea

Figure 6.1

Figure 6.2


Superordinary to keep in mind when looking at the history of the church in the United States. Every major change that the church experienced was a reaction to something; there was never the opportunity to start from scratch and build a utopian, scientifically planned out church. Before delving into the process of collaging together aspects of churches in the past four centuries in order to create the superordinary church of today, it is necessary to think about the actual process of holding on to certain elements and leaving others behind. Some of this process is driven by pragmaticsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;if the mission of a church is to spread the word, it will be grow in physical size in order to accommodate more people. However, some of the changes the church has seen have been in its signs and symbolism. Religion and symbolism are bound together. Some religious symbols are recognized worldwide as having one universal meaning, but there are also more subtle symbols that have different ways to being interpreted depending on the context. Jean Baudrillard, a French sociologist, philosopher, and cultural theorist was very interested in signs, symbols, and images. His main belief regarding signs and meaning was that everything could only be understood in terms of how it relates to other things.5 He asserted that signs work together by referencing other signs, and this practice is a reflection of how human society in general is based on self-referentiality. This is because societies are always striving for a whole, total understanding of the world, but this can never be achieved. The collective beliefs of every society are influenced by what came before. This point is an important one to consider when looking at the church. If someone were to come to the United States from a remote island, knowing nothing about religion or our society, he would have a completely different


understanding of the church. He might see it as an autonomous form and not question it, but most of us who are well acquainted with the church and its history all have our own understandings of what it means, but no one has a total understanding. To understand signs as Baudrillard describes them, it is necessary to look at three moments in church history. There was the cathedral, loaded with signs of power and dominance, then a deep fissure in the history of the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the pilgrimage to America. Here, the worship space was down scaled to a modest meetinghouse. In order to understand why the meeting house was so significant, it must be recognized as a reaction to something else. Between the first meetinghouses, which signified modesty, community, and simplicity, and the mega structures of religious worship we see today, there have been many steps where elements have been added and signify the society that introduced them. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s churches are loaded with signs. A single church might be a collage of an auditorium, vast parking lot, smaller gathering halls, Internet support groups, etc. As the church evolved, it picked up on what society needed, and each one of its new elements represented the ideas and concerns of that society. Baudrillard would mention that these layers all refer to what happened before them, and can only be appreciated by understanding what came before. In order to fully understand what a collage church is; it is important to have general knowledge on the churches transformations throughout history. By looking at the key aspects of each transformation, an individual can understand how the church went from the small-scale meetinghouse all the way to the monumental mega church. The mega church is a compilation of past churches key feature, and an individual could argue that all

The Collage Church the features from a mega church derive from previous churches, whether it is through its focus, intention, or aesthetic. Therefore, the mega church is a collage that derives meaning from its surrounding context through history and its connectivity within societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ideals. The mega churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aesthetic is monumental and grand in scale, deriving from the European Cathedral (Figure 6.3). The cathedral represented power of the religious institution. This power was expressed through the heaviness and the scale of the architecture. The seating was arranged for the mass and not for the individual. Therefore Christians seeking to practice religion more freely as a community migrated to America. The Puritans wanted to focus on the individual within the community. Therefore, widespread distribution of the written Bible allowed individuals to have religion in their own hands and allowed religion to become apart of their everyday life. This led to a stronger community bringing about the

meetinghouse (Figure 6.4). The mega church reflects this focus on the individual, and the intention of bringing religion into everyday life. Industrialization was the catalyst for the churches next transformation. As industrialization spread, there was a separation between the natural, pastoral landscape, and the city. This caused a longing for the idealized pastoral landscape. This focus on technology, advancement, and mass production took away from the individual experience. The church responded with camp meetings outside of the city with the intent of focusing back on the internal (Figure 6.5). The church recognized urbanization and in order to bring the ideas of the camp meetings back into the city, pastors sought unoccupied urban spaces to form congregations. The church borrowed the idea of a tent from the Second Great Awakening; circus tents and temporary structures were set up in vacant urban lots. Along with this idea, the spectacle

Figure 6.3

Figure 6.4



Figure 6.5

was created to draw in “un-churched” people. These events relate to the mega church’s need to the expose religion and to continue the growth of followers. As a direct result from these camp meetings, and urban pop-up locations, the churches next transformation needed to accommodate more people and society’s ideals of a collective experience. Mass Evangelism church’s created a space focusing on the collective experience by striving to provide a space for everyone. This resulted in a broad range of large spaces that the church inhabited, including; theaters, auditoriums, and large factory buildings accommodating up to five thousand people. This relates to the mega church’s interior aesthetic of a theater or auditorium and its ideal of providing religion to everyone, and being apart of something bigger then oneself. After WWII, there was an exodus to this new district called suburbia.


Churches adapted by moving back to each isolated suburban community. As a result of this move to suburban communities, the individual’s focus shifted towards consumerism and the “American Dream.” The ideal behind consumerism was to give a sense of power to the individual through ownership. Consumerism was made possible through advertisement (Figure 6.6). Churches adapted to this consumerist change in society by “selling religion” through advertisements. Signs, typically associated with selling commodities, were now used to advertise churches alongside the highways. Simultaneously, religious figures such as pastors became celebrities. Both Billy Graham and Robert Schuller were predecessors to the mega church. Billy Graham was a nationally recognized religious figure and due to the nature of the mega church, an idealized figure is needed. Billy Graham had been a pastor

The Collage Church also acting as an omnipresent celebrity. His congregation spread farther than any one church could accommodate. His success was obtained because of his ability to adapt to societies needs. During this time, society saw technology and mobility as freedom and choice. Graham used different types of media to preach, including television, broadcasting, and radio. This media made it possible for religion to reach domestic households, an idea carried through the mega church. Robert Schuller, not quite as famous as Billy Graham, also reached out to society by using media. For example, the design of Schuller’s Garden Grove church was in response to the cultures demands in terms of mobility and accessibility. The Garden Grove plan made it possible for people to go to mass within the building, in addition to, attending the service within your car (Figure 6.7). Small speakers were placed throughout the parking lot in order for people to enjoy the mass at their own comfort and security. Following this shift into suburbia, the church’s next intent was to bring these disparate communities together. A new typology emerged. The mega church was able to serve individuals from different communities who could travel via highway to the mega church. This ultimately affected how religion is used today. The mega church, which doesn’t only provide a sermon, also provides additional services for the convenience of the individual. Such services include day-care facilities, activities for group bonding, along with educational services. A precedent example of a mega church is the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana (Figure 6.8). It can be argued that this church is a “collage church” because it encompasses a collection of ideals gained over time from previous churches. Founded in 1887, it became one of the first

Figure 6.6

Figure 6.7

Figure 6.8


Superordinary mega churches in the United States. One of the most important criteria for being a mega church is the ability to accommodate the societies needs through providing a multitude of services and amenities. Currently, the First Baptist Church has a weekly attendance of around twenty thousand people; it operates Hyles-Anderson College and two K-12 schools. One could argue that much of this church’s success could be credited to past ideals of the church. Ever since mobility and technology became an important aspect to an individual, the church has adapted. In regards to the First Baptist Church, the Internet, television, and radio have allowed people to be connected to the church. The First Baptist Church’s website includes a bulletin board of upcoming events, information on all the services provided, video telecast of sermons and interviews, links connecting to other services they operate such as their Institution, along with much more. This allows the individual to feel as though they are connected to something bigger then themselves. Technology has allowed religion to become accessible to every household in the world. Another important aspect of a mega church is its ability to make an individual feel like they’re apart of something larger. The First Baptist Church not only takes the ideal of a collective experience and provides a space for everyone, but also provides many smaller group activities to make each individual or each sub-community feel important. For example, here are a few names of their ministries: Church Planting, World Missions, Bus Ministry, Power Club, Youth Ministry, Nursing Home Ministry, Sailor Ministry, Truck Drives Ministry, Jail Ministry, Reformers Unanimous, Responsibility USA and the Lighthouse Ministry. Each group is targeted towards a


specific age demographic and purpose with the sole intention of performing well and connecting the community on an internal level. Other then specific activities and groups, amenities are also provided to help out the individual. There is a varied arrangement of services provided such as bible classes to continue an individual’s religious knowledge, day-care and nursery services, as well as providing mass transportation to boost Sunday school attendance. In 1975, their weekly attendance had been over fourteen thousand as a result of using “carnival-like entertainment”6 in order to attract thousand of people from the Chicago Southland and northern Indiana. The Church was able to make this possible by providing free transportation using over two hundred buses (Figure 6.9).

Figure 6.9

The Collage Church

Figure 6.10

While the First Baptist Church’s intention is on the collective experience and spreading religious practices to all, the church’s interior aesthetic is representative of this ideal as well. The church’s newly built auditorium space provides seating for over thirty thousand people (Figure 6.10). There is a hundred and forty-member choir, along with a fifty-piece orchestra, and also youth choirs and singing groups. Also included within the space is a large television screen for better viewing of the sermon. Overall, this interior space provides the individual with a spectacle. Although the individual is enjoying a collective experience, they internal feel uplifted and important. The First Baptist Church is a very good case study to examine in order to understand what a collage church is, but there are many other examples of buildings

or building complexes that can be considered collage churches in the United States. Most of these churches were not designed by “starchitects” and consequently, do not have any merit as masterpieces of architecture. They are superordinary because of their direct responsiveness to the needs of the community in which they are established. These churches have been assembled from pieces of earlier typologies. The congregation is therefore the bricoleur—deciding what to add based on its needs. The only time the church was engineered was when the puritans completely broke free from the European Cathedral typology. Since then, its growth and evolution has followed a collage technique. The bricolage of signs and spaces speaks about our relationship with God. Baudrillard asserted that humans are always searching for a total understanding of the


Superordinary world and of some type of ethereal entity. This understanding is signified by signs that are supposed to represent meaning, but most signs today just represent other signs. That is how the growth of the church works; changes in religious practice or building are not symbolic of a sudden, total understanding of how a group should worship, but signs of how the masses understand the role of religion in their society. These signs are always based on the religious practices and the signs associated with them. This process of responding to the needs of society and referencing the ideas of the past is the story of the collage church. Today, the collage church is the mega church and metachurch. These are both concerned with accommodating large crowds as well as providing the opportunity for smaller communities to come together. Since the Internet became popular in homes, religious communities have spread to the online realm. This is another element that adds to the collage that is the church, and one that will probably be used even more heavily in the future as technology becomes more and more present in our society’s lives. Online worship begs the question whether or not we will always need a physical space to gather. As the message of worship services shifts from scriptures derived from religious doctrine to messages about general gooddoing and self-awareness, it becomes less clear what the role of a sacred space plays in religious practice. Although we are becoming a more technology-based and secular society, it is pertinent to claim that humans will always seek a physical space to retreat to in order to be removed from their normal reality. This space will always be changing as the church faces infinite opportunities for the addition of functions, spaces, and signs.

1 Kilde, Jeanne. When Church Became Theater (Oxford, 2002). p. 11. 2 Hays, K. M.. “Critical Architecture: Between Culture and Form.” Perspecta 21: 15-29. 3 Claude Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (London, 1966). p. 19. 4 Rowe, Colin and Fred Koetter. Collage City (MIT Press, Cambridge). p. 93. 5 Baudrillard, Jean. The Evil Demon of Images and the Precession of Simulacra. Postmodern Reader. T. Docherty. (New York, 1993). 6 Time magazine, “Superchurch”, 1 December 1975, retrieved August 2008


THE MEGACHURCH by Matthew DesSureault


The theory that is behind the idea of a mega-structure is a modernistic approach to culture and technology in a single, massive piece of architecture. The creation of one major form places itself into a landscape and distinguishes itself as a “utopian society”. The city and country simply become the background to this man made form that was genetically engineered to indulge society to be drawn in. “Urban designers are attracted to the mega structure concept because it offers a legitimate way to order massive grouped functions.”1 The creation of these mega spaces holds the characteristics of an integrative system with contemporary technology and culture. Archigram was an Avant-Guard group of designers and planers in the 1960s that approached this idea of the mega-structure to directly portray this idea (Figure 7.1). They used what was naturally formed in the society of people and compiled everything into one “Ideal” city that people would ultimately live in. These new ways of envisioning the city was a rather modernistic, open-ended way of designing these large man-made structures. The influence of these designers started to investigate and experiment with the ideas of a self-supporting, self-sustaining, closed loop society. The cultural significance of the mega structure was a reaction towards


adapting into a society with unpredictable growth and change. There were many new things being designed, produced and advertised at the turn of the 1960s in America. There was a very large range of new technologies as well that went towards this introduction of the mega-structure. The modern movement in architecture was partly about the rejection of realism, so in this day and age it was a hit architectural idea to break away from tradition and go big. The idea was that they could break away from tradition and create a mega-structure with all of the new and exciting technological innovations and cultural upbringings that would create what would be considered a “Utopian” society, all under one roof (Figure 7.2). Stepping back we look at precedents in history that gravitated around the idea of the mega-structure specifically with the Crystal Palace for the 1854 Worlds Fair in London, England. The Crystal palace was a literal consolidation of different global cultures coming together under one roof to display their technological innovations of the industrial revolution. The Crystal Palace was not just an exhibition space for all of this but the architecture alone was a mega-structure that consolidated a cultural response. The innovation in the design of the project would exhibit the celebration of the new building material of cast-iron structural elements and

The Megachurch a glass façade envelope. As a mega-structure responds to time and culture, the crystal palace was one of the first precedents of the mega-structure concept. After World War II, which ended in 1945, there was a demand for housing in the ever-growing consumer society. Suburbia was a direct response to this urgency for housing and in turn gave the American people the idea of the American dream. With the birth of the suburbs and consumerism, there was the adoption of modernism and designing for the individual. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Because architecture that responds to consumerism deals in direct, rather than abstract, symbolism, consumerist architecture has fallen outside the realm inhabited by Avant-garde architects and their critics.â&#x20AC;?2 The reoccurrence of the mega-structure idea in the 1960s was a direct response to modernism in America. The goal of the mega-structure was to create the ideal utopian society using a toolbox of cultural characteristics and innovations. The influence of the modern extremes in structures had substantial affects on society including religion, which at this time was and had been going through constant changes as well. The original Garden Grove Church was the first stride down this road in the modernistic world of design. Robert Schuller designed a new typology in religious architecture with the integration of the automobile, as that was a symbol of technology and innovation. It was a very popular church in this sense because it was doing many things that fit and worked with society. It was introducing new ideas about how a church looks, operates, and involves itself into a community. The introduction of the curtain wall into the form of the church was a huge step in the breaking down of the boundaries that originally radiated around

Figure 7.1

Figure 7.2



Figure 7.3


church design. There was a designing concept of transparency with interior and exterior that arose from this moment in history. The design of the Garden Grove church followed fundamentals of the megastructure in the ways that it adopted new ways of approaching a design situation with the urgency to build in response to time and culture. Glass and innovation, automobile the consumer society, the individual with oneon-one hotlines were all stepping-stones for the future development of the Garden Grove (mega) Church was to become in later years. Part of the modern culture with the involvement of the consumer society and it’s exposure to media was the ability to broadcast advertisements over television and radio. Billy Graham was at this time a very significant religious leader that broadcasted his message about god using this median of media communication. His influence on Schuller lead him to do the same and came out with the “Hour of Power” television program. His the congregation grew to a massive population of 10,000+ when there was need for a larger church. In the early 1980s The Crystal Cathedral was built on the same site as the Garden Grove Church in Orange County California to form one of the first mega-churches. Continuing with the new ideas of transparency in the form of the church, The Crystal Cathedral translated all of the walls of the church into a glass curtain wall (Figure 7.3). Interior realm was a critical point to the congregation because the mega-churches were depicting the idea of a utopian society. Once the individual was inside the mega-church, there was a sense of one’s being amongst the entire community. The exterior of the Crystal Cathedral was designed as a “tent-like” beacon of mirrors to reflect in the façade the natural world and the community in it. The importance of the

The Megachurch

Figure 7.4

integration of the two realms creates â&#x20AC;&#x153;â&#x20AC;Śthe production of images and the definition of place and self as dependent upon the effects of reciprocity between the inner and the outer spheres.â&#x20AC;?3 The advancements of technology and materiality in the contemporary times produced a mega church that satisfies these aesthetic concepts, which again finds its roots from the mega-structure. The image of mirror as the skin on a building is in no way an icon for religion but a product of culture, consumerism, and technology. With the intents of the church becoming a mega-structure, there also becomes an involvement into the consumer society. With the formation of the suburbs and ultimately media taking over in the form of consumerism, there was an opportunity for the mega-church to slip into the operations of

society and culture and promote the church in a way that any business or franchise typically would (Figure 7.4). The consumer society led religion into this idea of marketing and advertisements on a business level. This was how society works today and this was how religion was responding to this situation. Lakewood Church in Houston Texas became a vision of a utopian community on a mega level. In Texas there was a large population all wanting to follow the preaching of Joel Osteen but considering how he was using tools of media to advertise himself, he attracted an audience of 20,000+ people in which they needed to accommodate seating for. This Idea of a mega-church was the product of the consumerism and the culture in its response to religion (Figure 7.5). At the rise of these kinds of churches



Figure 7.5

the role of the architecture was to mainly resolve the issue of population. Most of the mega-churches used a civic type of arena buildings as they could successfully house the entire congregation. As well as seating people, the architecture would portray the interior and exterior as two different components of the church. The outside of the building was a much similar to a commercial architecture for housing civic events or commercial mall typologies. It was used to draw people into the space and fit within the context of the suburban edges. The interior again was specialized for the people so that when they were in the space they felt the presence of becoming a part of something more than the outside world. The final point in engaging the concept of the mega-structure into the church


has to deal with the social aspects of interaction amongst people and church. To fully indulge the roots of the mega-church into a society, there need to be as much involvement as possible. The Willow Creek Church in Barrington, Illinois started originally as a high school youth group, moved into a movie theater, and grew into a congregation of 25,000+ over 6 campuses. This church is taking on this idea of integrating the cultural systems (mega) so it starts to adopt groups that draw in the lives and hobbies of the average person. The goal is to promote the formation of a closed loop religious society. This is the image that has been raised and promoted from the church (Figure 7.7). The church knows they will get people because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s part of a healthy and happy community of individuals in which act together to promote

The Megachurch a greater sense of well-being. The image of contemporary culture depicts the wrong and right thing to do when it comes to the church for the people that participate in these social groups. These groups include youth, international community, men, seniors, singles, sports, women, and as well they have a motorcycle club. The organization of a “corporate” campus for this church gives the individual a sense of spirituality in a landscape. Incorporating several building into the church almost creates a religious sanctuary where reality stays out. The idea of a mega-church is accomplished by making successful attempts to design a “utopian” society of religious followers. The mega-church has become a cultural icon and has affected thousands of individuals in a positive way. The idea behind the contemporary church is to become part of a community that works in harmony with god so that the individual can find hope in society. This is a very powerful gesture that has risen out of what the church used to be before modernism. The idea of “mega” is just an instrument of consolidating cultural characteristics in a complete system. “Is the change quantitative than qualitative, as if contemporary designers were simply endowed with a more varied and flexible set of pencils and rulers?”4 Change happens but is not always a bad thing. This explosion of enterprise within a church relates similarly to the idea of the cathedral in early Europe. The puritans had left that behind because it was not about the image of the architecture but about the participation amongst the individual with god. Today the megachurch still promotes the same message but has achieved that using a deeply intricate kit of parts that is formulated simply from translating contemporary technology and society through the mega-structure.

1 Reyner Banham, “Megayear 1964” (London: Thames and Hudson, 1976), pp. 70-103. 2 John Chase, “The role of consumerism in American Architecture” (Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the association of collegiate schools of Architecture, inc, 1991) pp.211-224. 3 Antonio Petrov, “Superordinary” (chapter 7 megachurches). 4 Antoine Picon, “Architecture and the Virtual; Towards a New Materiality”


THE METACHURCH by Sean Hurley & Ross Lyons


For religious groups, much like any type of organization, the strength of their influence relies heavily on the number of people who follow it. The more individuals who commit to the group, the more will follow their lead. For this reason, we have seen the American church take many different approaches to structuring they’re organization. The church is constantly trying to position itself correctly within society to gather as many followers as possible. This positioning depends on the culture of the time and the strategy for growth has been different for every church typology and time. We can see examples of this constant readjustment of strategies such as the tent churches, which relied on spectacle within a hectic city. They had a tough situation to compete, with the emergence of city life. In order to hold the attention of a quickly changing and rapidly moving society, they made themselves a clear landmark using open-air tents to hold services in. More recently, Mega churches emerged as a leading example of successful church models. With a population distributed across wide distances, the small church model was extremely limited in its growth. The mega church’s strategy is to serve as a destination church for a population within an extremely large radius. To achieve this, the religion houses itself in buildings the size of sports arenas.


Not only do they have a worship space, but they include many auxiliary spaces as well. The mega church attempts to support a community within one large envelope. In the most recent evolution of the church, the metachurch, there is a breaking down of this singular building. The metachurch aims to be everywhere, all at once. It casts a broad net, creating a system of small groups. Through this technique it has the potential to grow itself far beyond a singular mega-church’s scale could ever reach. The origination of the metachurch philosophy can be traced back to the G12 vision. Pastor Cesar Castellanos, from Columbia, visited with a South Korean past David Yonggi Cho. Cho shared with him his strategy for developing his own congregation, the Yoido Full Gospel Church. This strategy was to base the congregation on a cell-group structure, using many small groups of worshiper’s linked together under one congregation. Cesar traveled back to Columbia with this new revelation that he would focus and shape into the growth of his own church. Cesar claimed that God had come to him and told him how to grow his exponentially. This began the G12 Vision, a group whose main aim is to increase the number of Christian believers. (Figure 8.1) The methodology by which this

The Metachurch expansion of the Christian faith achieved is based on the strategy that Jesus used to start his own ministry. After forty days of temptation in the desert, Jesus formed a group of twelve disciples. These twelve apostles would be responsible for carrying the word of god and spreading throughout the people by reaching out and finding twelve more followers, who would then find twelve more. This is the same principal that Cesar began the G12 vision upon. He taught his small group of followers about Christianity well enough, that he believed they could in turn each teach another small group. The idea is that through this method, one cell or group will sprout many more groups, which will then continue to start more cells. This creates a church structure that grows at extremely an extraordinarily high rate. The first generation has twelve devotees, while the next generation has one hundred and forty four and so on. This strategy of exponential growth is the foundation of the G12 Vision and is the reason for its great success. This underlying structure that the G12 group is founded upon can be compared directly to pyramid scheme. Similar to the G12â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s organization, a pyramid scheme relies on followers finding more followers to create growth. As growth of the entire system occurs, the top of the pyramid or the origin of the group benefits more and more. It is through the growth of the entire group that the leader becomes more powerful. (Figure 8.2) There are many advantages to the metachurch model. The most important advantage being the scale to which it can grow. The mega church has been extremely successful in creating a large gathering of followers. Some single mega churches hold as many as forty thousand people however, this may be the limit of growth a single node

Figure 8.1

Figure 8.2



Figure 8.3

church can reach. The limiting factor may be the distance of travel. People are willing only to travel to a church within a reasonable distance. The solution to this physical limitation of growth is embedded within the metachurch model. Many, smaller churches located in numerous locations across a country will be within traveling distance of a larger number of people. (Figure 8.3) This same basic structural advantage can be seen when comparing a single location restaurant, to a restaurant franchise. The single restaurant which does not plan on multiple locations, may take all its resources and poor them into expanding its original location. This may provide growth, but it limited growth. There are a finite number of people that can be reached with just one location. The chain restaurant however may use its resources in funding many, smaller locations to be built. Though one single location may be very small and influence


only a handful of people, the company as a whole has the potential to experience growth far beyond what a single location could ever achieve. The advantage of the metachurch model is not exclusively in its ability for growth. It is also in its ability to better address the individual worshiper. Megachurches treat the individual as simply a part of a massive group, lumping them all together in one huge space. The metachurch with its small groups allows for each node to become its own entity. This means that a worshipper can pick and choose which location is right for them. The individual can find other individuals with similar religious views and beyond that, similar lifestyles. This customization results in happier, more dedicated worshipers. Again, this will feed the growth of the entire congregation. The examples and comparisons previously mentioned prove another fact

The Metachurch

Figure 8.4

about the metachurch model. The metachurch ideology may, on its surface, appear to be about spreading the word of god and strengthening the religion, ultimately however, it is simply a very effective business model. The prime example of a built metachurch in America is an obvious example of this fact. The campus of Saddleback Church is a standing monument to the size of the corporation it has become. It resembles very closely a vacation resort. Its atmosphere is primarily of fun and enjoyment, and consumerism. Only subtly is the idea of religion portrayed on the campus. Saddleback is also an example of where this idea of the Metachurch is destined in the future. The campus is very closely related to the Saddleback website, where all the services and activities are live streamed to the world. The website, in a way, serves as an entire community of its own. There are message boards divided by categories of interests, videos about the organization, even ways to donate money online. Saddleback takes advantage of the modern resources at its disposal, and it has grown a community that is worldwide. The metachurch model that is very much in touch with the time that we live in. With modern technology like social networking, streaming video over the Internet, and online message boards, it is

easier then ever to reach a huge audience. (Figure 8.4) We live in the age of the individual, and the more convenient and personalized the church experience can be, the more attractive it becomes to our society as a whole. The metachurch concept is one that can succeed more so now, then ever before. Religious groups in America have recognized this opportunity and begun to seize it. Religion in America has always been quick to recognize when change is necessary, and it has done so yet again. Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plugged in, technology driven society needs a very specific type of church. This is a church that tailors to the individual needs and wants of a person, and is of the utmost convenience. The metachurch fits this description perfectly and has the potential to enable unprecedented religious growth in America. Saddleback Church One of the first and best examples of a church that follows the practices of the Metachurch is Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. The church offers the numbers and power of a mega church by being the eighth-largest church in the United States and it offers an extensive list of small groups, programs, and resources that are more catered to the individual. Saddleback



Figure 8.5


has been using these practices throughout its history and it has allowed the church to really grow and flourish. To accomplish this, the church utilizes these practices in small chapels, the main campus, in it’s architecture, and on it’s website. Founded by Rick Warren in 1980, the first church service was held in a local high school’s theater on Easter Sunday. This first service attracted about 200 people and it would mark the beginning of one of the largest churches in the United States. Over the course of the next ten years the church continued to grow in size, which required the church to continue to move and to look for new places to hold mass. It didn’t find a “permanent” home until the early 1990’s when Saddleback purchased a large plot of land in Lake Forest, California (Figure 8.5). The first building on the site was a large tent that could hold up to 2,300 people and this worked for a few years until a permanent structure could be built. In 1995 the congregation moved from the tent into the new Worship Center, which could now hold up to 3,500 parishioners. With their main chapel complete Saddleback begin to focus their attention on building up group programs, including a youth services. They built a Children’s Ministry Center where kids of all ages could go to hang out, play, and learn about the teachings of the church in an environment more suited for children. The newest addition to the campus is the “Refinery”. The Refinery is a mixed box of program containing a little bit of everything from a worship area, to a skate park. Its focus is mostly on giving children a larger area to hangout. With these new programs in place the church continued to grow and began to branch out to other areas of southern California and eventually to the Internet. Their website has become their central hub where you can join an online group, watch a

The Metachurch

Figure 8.6

sermon, or donate money to the cause. In keeping with the Metachurch principles of combining the benefits of a mega church and meeting house, Saddleback church has established different locations all over southern California. Locations include Corona, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Orange, Ranch Capistrano, and San Clemente. It also has one international location in Afghanistan and the church is continually looking for new locations to expand too. These actions are all in line with the principles of their founder Rick Warren, Saddleback’s motto of “One Family; Many Locations” and the ideas of the metachurch. By establishing these different locations it allows for the “Different Locations” portion of the motto and when you bring these churches together it creates “One Family”. The smaller churches of Corona, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Orange, Ranch Capistrano, and San Clemente all offer small intimate groups for everyone and they serve their general location. Some of the activities that the smaller churches offer include baptisms, retreats, marriage counseling, and classes on spirituality, life, and church. Along with these smaller locations Saddleback also has a main campus in Lake Forest, which

resembles more of a resort than a church. The main campus contains a Children’s Building, Nursery Building, Worship Center, Green Room, Pavilion, Beach Café, Terrace Café, three tents, The Refinery (Figure 8.6), and two Office Buildings. These all spread out on a large plot of land with landscape rolling through. At the Refinery alone, programs include an 800 seat auditorium, multipurpose room, courtyard, half court basketball, classrooms, deli, café, restaurant, sand volleyball, skate park, campfires, Grand Park, Teen Zone, Chapel, Camping Area, Pre-school play area, resource center, rock climbing walls, nursery, 24 different play areas, mazes, and a small lake. On a typical day at Lake Forest they have about ten different organized events that range from kids choir, financial planning, fitness classes, and tax preparation seminars. There is literally always something going on and it doesn’t always have to do with religion. These events also don’t include the services that typically only happen on the weekend when they have five general services, three for junior high kids, four for high school kids, and one for college aged kids. Refinery The






Superordinary Saddleback Campus is the “Refinery”, which acts as a children’s zone to the parish. Completed in 2008 by the Saddleback Development Company it became a LEED Gold certified building and is the best architectural representative of the metachurch at the Saddleback campus. The Refinery’s slogan is “A place for ministry, food, fun, and community” and by using the Metachurch outline, it tries to accomplish that. Although the Refinery is one building it contains a wide range of program including an 800 seat auditorium, multipurpose room, courtyard, half court basketball, classrooms, deli, café, restaurant, sand volleyball, skate park, campfires, Grand Park, Teen Zone, Chapel, Camping Area, Pre-school play area, resource center, rock climbing walls, nursery, 24 different play areas, mazes, and a small lake (Figure 8.7). By having this extensive program list the church is then able to create different groups that can meet and use the space. On the Refinery’s website it advertises eight very different groups including, a junior and high school ministry, college ministry, a young adults group, a help group for junior and high school students, a gym class for kids aged 1-4 and their parents, a women’s fitness group, and an over 40 basketball league. On the website the church takes it a step further and says:

Figure 8.7


“Imagine a Starbucks, the beach, a skate park, an art gallery, a gym, and a theater all rolled into one amazing building. That’s what the Refinery at Saddleback Church is all about! We have a newly-renovated skate park for you to skate and ride. Not a skater? Come check out our arcade games, Xbox Kinect stations, foosball tables, ping pong tables, and more. We have lounge areas throughout the building where you can catch up with your friends or actually do your homework! You can play ball in our full and half court gym, or in our outdoor sand volleyball court. We’ve

The Metachurch

Figure 8.6

got great food as well. Grab a burger and a soda and watch a ballgame on our many TVs located throughout the center. You can even catch a Monday Night Football game on our theater’s big screen! Step outside and roast some marshmallows at our fire pits as you listen to the waterfall.”

Along with the program the exterior façade is also articulated in such a way to breakup the mass of the Refinery and make it seem like a bunch of smaller buildings put together. They use a southwestern town store inspired façade and every twenty feet of the façade is articulated as a new “storefront”.

watch a service currently in session or they can watch a past service from the websites extensive archived collection. There is also a tab on the website for members to volunteer and donate money. On the smaller scale the website advertises different groups that are meeting both online and at the different parishioners. By moving towards an online community Saddleback has been able to reach more people while offering them the benefits of the Mega-Church and the intimacy of the meeting house.

Web Along with all of their physical churches Saddleback has established a very strong online presence. The website ( is organized like any other businesses’ website and it also follows the same principles as the Metachurch. The website acts as a hub for all of the parishioners to gather (Figure 8.8). They can

G12 Vision Radiance: “The Meta Church!!” The Meta Church Small Group Model Saddleback Church Database of Megachurches in the U.S



Superordinary Week 1 Introduction: Superordinary? Week 2 Myth, Image, Culture Tuesday January 17, 2012 Disappearance of Traditional Readings of Representation and Meaning Critical Architecture Between Culture and Form Cultural Ambivalence Readings Theoretical Framework (all): -Barragan, L. (2011). Religion and Myth. The religious imagination in modern and contemporary architecture : a reader. R. J. Hejduk and J. Williamson. New York, Routledge: 10-11.Barrie, T. (2010). The sacred in-between : the mediating roles of architecture. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, Routledge. -Baudrillard, J. (1993). The Evil Demon of Images and the Precession of Simulacra. Postmodernism : a reader. T. Docherty. New York, Columbia University Press: 194-199. -Hays, K. M.. (1984). “Critical Architecture: Between Culture and Form.” Perspecta 21: 1529. Group Readings (Cultural Landscape): 1, 2, 3-Gelernter, D. H. (2007). Americanism : the fourth great Western religion. New York, Doubleday. 4, 5, 6-Marx, L. (1964). The machine in the garden; technology and the pastoral ideal in America. New York,, Oxford University Press. 7, 8-Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane (Harcourt Brace, 1987): “Sacred Space and Making the World Sacred,” 20-65. Class discussion: Theoretical and cultural foundation. Seminar: Critical Sacred Architecture: Between Myth, Image, and Cultural Ambivalence? Cusset, F. (2008). French theory : how Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze & Co. transformed the intellectual life of the United States. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press. Week 3 The Culture of Cities Required Readings (all): -Lewis Mumford, “Introduction,” The Culture of Cities (1938), pp. 3-13. -Kilde, J. H. (2002). When Churches Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America. New York, Oxford University Press. Class discussion: The culture of American cities Thursday January 26, 2012 Seminar: The Architecture of Pastoral- and Urban America Simplicity, Theatricality, Commodity (17th – early 20th century) Week 4 Signs, Semiotics, Symbols


Appendix Required readings: 1,2,3-Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi, “On Ducks and Decoration,” in Joan Ockman (ed), Architecture Culture 1943-1968 (New York: Rizzoli, 1993), pp. 446-448. -Denise Scott Brown, “Learning From Pop,” Casabella (Dec. 1971): 41-45. Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Steven Izenour, Learning From Las Vegas (MIT Press, 1972), passim. 4, 5, 6-Lyotard, J.-F. (1993). Answering the Question: What is Postmodernism? . Postmodernism : a reader. T. Docherty. New York, Columbia University Press: 38-46. -Jameson, F. (1998). Postmodernism and Consumer Society. The Cultural Turn. Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983-1998. London, Verso: 1-20. 7, 8-Roland Barthes, “Semiology and Urbanism,” in Joan Ockman (ed), Architecture Culture 1943-1968 (New York: Rizzoli, 1993), pp. 412-418. - Garreau, J. (1992). Edge city : life on the new frontier. New York, Anchor Books. Class discussion: Semiotic Dimensions of Architecture Seminar: The Architecture of Rituals, Pop and Storefronts Week 5 Sacred Architecture in a Psychedelic Culture (1950-1960s) Required readings (all) Petrov, A. (2011). Sacred Architecture in a Psychedelic Culture. Superordinary! New Paradigms in Sacred Architecture. New York. Hollein, H. (1968). “Everything is Architecture.” Discourse on Practice in Architecture Reader: 459461. Hill, J. (2006). Immaterial architecture. London ; New York, Routledge. Class Discussion: New Paradigms in Sacred Architecture? Seminar: Sacred Indeterminacy: New Materiality in Religious Architecture Week 6 Cinematic All-McCluhan, M. and Q. Fiore (1967). The medium is the message. New York,, Random House. All-Youngblood, G. (1970). Expanded cinema. New York,, Dutton. Class Discussion: Electronic Seminar: Total Dematerialization: Evangelical Pavilion’s at the 1964 New York World’s Fair Week 7 Internalization Required Readings (all):


Superordinary -Pimlott, M. (2007). Without and within : essays on territory and the interior. Rotterdam, Episode -Martin, R. (2010). Territory: From the Inside Out. Utopia’s ghost : architecture and postmodernism, again. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press: 1-26.-Lefebvre, H. (1991). The Production of Space. Oxford, OX, UK ; Cambridge, Mass., USA, Blackwell. -Superstudio (1969). The Continuous Monument. Exit Utopia : architectural provocations, 1956-76. M.. v. Schaik and O. Má*cel. Munich ; New York, Prestel: 125-145. -Archizoom (1969). No-Stop City. Exit Utopia : architectural provocations, 1956-76. M.. v. Schaik and O. Má*cel. Munich ; New York, Prestel: 157-184. - Optional Jameson, F. (1991). Postmodernism or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, Duke University Press. Class Discussion: Reality stays out Week 7 Collage Church Required Readings (all): -Rowe, C. (1973). Collage City. Theorizing a new agenda for architecture : an anthology of architectural theory, 1965-1995. K. Nesbitt. New York, Princeton Architectural Press: 266293. -Eisenman, P. (2007). Presentness and the Being-Only-Once of Architecture. Written into the void : selected writings, 1990-2004. New Haven, Yale University Press: 43-49. -Eisenman, P. (1984). The End of the Classical: The End of the Beginning, The End of the End. Perspecta. Upmeyer, B., Ed. (2009). Monu Magazine Holy Urbanism. Rotterdam, Board Publishers. Class Discussion: Presentness and Being only once Week 8 Bigness and Complexity Required Readings: 1, 2, 3- Rem Koolhaas, “Bigness, or the Problem of Large” “Whatever Happened to Urbanism,” “Generic City,” SMLXL (1995), pp. 494-516; 958-971; 1239-1264. Jameson, F. (1998). Postmodernism and Consumer Society. The Cultural Turn. Selected Writings on the Postmodern 1983-1998. London, Verso: 1-20. 4, 5, 6- Foucault, M.. (1967). Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Hetrotopias. Rethinking architecture : a reader in cultural theory. N. Leach. London ; New York, Routledge: 350-355. Martin, R. (2010). Materiality: Mirrors. Utopia’s ghost : architecture and postmodernism, again. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press: 93-122. 7, 8- Reyner Banham, “Megayear 1964,” and “Fun and Flexibility” Megastructure (London: Thames and Hudson, 1976), pp. 70-103. Class discussion: The Other Seminar: Insular: Collages, Mirrors and Crystals Week 9 New Materiality


Appendix Required Readings (all): -Picon, A. (2010). Digital culture in architecture : an introduction for the design professions. Basel, Birkhäuser. -Sloterdijk, P. (2009). Spheres Theory: Talking to Myself about the Poetics of Space. Harvard Design Magazine. - Armstrong, B. (1979). The Electronic Church. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Class discussion: Networks and Atmospheres Seminar: Metachurch Week 10 18th-19th Century Additional readings: Britton, K. (2010). Constructing the ineffable : contemporary sacred architecture. New Haven, Yale School of Architecture in association with Yale University Press. Cox, H. G. (2009). An Age of the Spirit: The Sacerd in the Secular? The future of faith. New York, NY, Harper 1-26 Hejduk, R. J. and J. Williamson (2011). The religious imagination in modern and contemporary architecture : a reader. New York, Routledge. Bowden, H. W. and P. C. Kemeny (1998). American church history : a reader. Nashville, Tenn., Abingdon Stock, W. J., F. Achleitner, et al. (2002). Europäischer Kirchenbau 1950-2000 = European church architecture 19502000. München, Prestel. Ellul, J. (1986). Desacralization and Sacralization. The subversion of Christianity. Grand Rapids, Mich.,: 52-68. Hammond, P. E.. and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. (1985). The Sacred in a secular age; toward revision in the scientific study of religion. Berkeley,, University of California Press. Taylor, C. (2007). A secular age. Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Taylor, M.. C. (2010). Revealing Concealment. Constructing the ineffable : contemporary sacred architecture. K. Britton. New Haven, Yale School of Architecture in association with Yale University Press: 66-71. Richardson, P. (2004). New spiritual architecture. New York, Abbeville Press. Heathcote, E.. and L. Moffatt (2007). Contemporary church architecture. Chichester, England ; Hoboken, NJ, Wiley Schwarz, R. (1947). Vom Bau der Kirche. Heidelberg,, L. Schneider. -Bender, C. (2010). The new metaphysical spirituality and the American religious imagination. Chicago ; London, University of Chicago Press. -Bowden, H. W. and P. C. Kemeny (1998). American church history : a reader. Nashville, Tenn., Abingdon J. B. Jackson: “Jefferson, Thoreau and After,” pp. 1-9 -Venturi, R. (1993). The Duck and the Decorated Shed. Postmodernism : a reader. T. Docherty. New York, Columbia University Press: 295-307. -Smith, J. K. A. (2006). Who’s afraid of postmodernism? : Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to church. Grand Rapids, Mich., Baker Academic. Meetinghouses, Camp Meetings, Movable Pulpits, Street Preaching, Tent-Churches Zabel, C. R. and S. C. Scott (1989). American public architecture : European roots and native expressions. University Park, Pa., Pennsylvania State University.––The Church and the New England Meetinghouse Loveland, A. C. and O. B. Wheeler (2003). From meetinghouse to megachurch : a material and cultural history. Columbia, University of Missouri Press. Long, E.. M.., H. Sebald, et al. (1859). The Union Tabernacle, or, Movable tent-church : showing in its rise and success a new department of Christian enterprise. Philadelphia, Parry & McMillan. Upton, D. and J. M.. Vlach (1986). Common places : readings in American vernacular architecture. Athens, Auditorium Churches and Spaces for Mass Evangelism John Reps: The Making of Urban America, Chapter 7, pp. 175-203; & parts of Chapter 11, pp. 314-323 Lee, R. (1967). The church and the exploding metropolis. Richmond,, John Knox Press. Canetti, E. (1981). Crowds and power. New York, Continuum.


Superordinary Schnapp, J. T. (Autumn 1994). “Border Crossings: Italian/German Peregrinations of the “Theater of Totality”.” Critical Inquiry Published by: The University of Chicago Press Vol. 21, No. 1 80-123. Indeterminacy, Universalization, Dematerialization, Architecture in a psychedelic culture, Pilgrimage, Retailing Religion, Participation: Leach, W. (1993). Land of desire : merchants, power, and the rise of a new American culture. New York, Hays, K. M.. (2010). Architecture’s desire : reading the late avant-garde. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press. Tafuri, M.. (1998). Toward a Critique of Architectural Ideology. Architecture theory since 1968. K. M.. Hays. Cambridge, Mass, MIT Press: 2-35. Diana Eck, “Temples of Light” Constructing the Ineffable), pp. 1-13.Fariborz Sahba, “Faith and Form: Contemporary Space for Pilgrimage and Worship” Conde, Y. (2000). Architecture of the Indeterminacy. Barcelona, Actar. Taylor, M.. C. (2007). After God. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and simulation. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press. Bishop, C. (2006). Participation. London, Cambridge, Mass., Whitechapel ;MIT Press. Barrie, T. (2010). The sacred in-between : the mediating roles of architecture. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, Routledge. Hejduk, R. J. and J. Williamson (2011). The religious imagination in modern and contemporary architecture : a reader. New York, Routledge. Hines, T. S. (1982). Richard Neutra and the search for modern architecture : a biography and history. New York, Oxford University Press. Suburbanization: McGirr, L. (2001). Suburban warriors : the origins of the new American Right. Princeton, N.J., Princeton Cohen, L. (2004). A consumers’ republic : the politics of mass consumption in postwar America. New York, Vintage Books. Glickman, L. B. (1999). Consumer society in American history: a reader. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Waldie, D.J. Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir. St Martin’s Griffin, 1996 Robert Stern: “La Ville Bourgeoise” in The Anglo-American Suburb, a special issue of Architectural Design, 1981 and skim the remainder of the journal devoted to The Anglo-American Suburb; Jackson: Crabgrass Frontier, pp. 116189 D.J. Waldie, Holy Land: A Suburban memoir (1996) Eric Avila, “The Folklore of the Freeway: Space, Culture and Identity in Postwar Los Angeles, “ from Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies (1998) John Findlay, Magic Lands – Western Cityscapes and American Culture After 1940 Chap 6 (1992) Becky Nicolaides & Andrew Wiese: The Suburb Reader Chaps. 16 (2006) Garreau, J. (1992). Edge city : life on the new frontier. New York, Anchor Books. Hawkins, P. S. (1985). Getting nowhere : Christian hope & utopian dream. Cambridge, MA, Cowley. Hayden, D. (1976). Seven American utopias : the architecture of communitarian socialism, 1790-1975. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press. Mandelker, I. L. (1984). Religion, society, and utopia in nineteenth-century America. Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press. Cox, H. (1966). The secular city. New York, Macmillan. Hoyer, H. C. (1971). Ecumenopolis U.S.A.: the church in mission in community. Minneapolis,, Augsburg Smith, J. K. A. (2006). Who’s afraid of postmodernism? : taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to church. Grand Rapids, Mich., Baker Academic. M. Christine Boyer, “Playing with Information: Urbanism in the 21st Century,” in Stephen Read, Jürgen Roseman, Job van Eldijk (eds.) Future City (Abingdon: Spon, 2005), pp. 156-173. Sloterdijk, P. (2004). Indoors: Architekturen des Schaums Sphaeren III, Schaeume Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp: 501-654. Pimlott, M. (2008). The Continuous Interior. Harvard Design Magazine. 29 Fall/Winter 2008-9: 75-86. Tafuri, M.. (1979). Architecture and utopia : design and capitalist development. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Schaik, M.. v. and O. Má*cel (2005). Exit Utopia : architectural provocations, 1956-76. Munich ; New York, Prestel. Hammond, F. B. C. o. (2002). “Baptist City.” from Keith McKinney, G. M.. M.. (2001). The Old Church Downtown: An Incomplete History of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. Hammond, Indiana, Hyes Publications Crawford, Margaret (2010) Mall of America


Appendix Sanford Kwinter, “The Building, the Book, and the New Pastoralism,” Urbanism vs. Architecture ANY 9 (1994), pp.17-22. Ellingson, S. (2007). The megachurch and the mainline : remaking religious tradition in the twenty-first century. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Barrie, T. (2010). The sacred in-between : the mediating roles of architecture. Milton Park, Abingdon, Banham, R. (1976). Megastructure : urban futures of the recent past. New York, Harper and Row. Bletter, R. H. (1981). “The Interpretation of The Glass Dream- Expressionist Architecture and the History of the Crystal Metaphor.” The Journal of the Society of Architecture Historians 40(1): 20-43. Taylor, M.. C. (2001). The moment of complexity : emerging network culture. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Jarzombek, M. (2007). “The Cunning of Architecture’s Reason.” Footprint Autumn 2007: 31-46. Chase, J. (1991). “The Role of Consumerism in American Architecture.” JAE 44(4): 211-224. Christensen, J. (2008). Big box reuse. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press. Oxon ; New York, Routledge. Bender, C. and ebrary Inc. (2010). The new metaphysical spirituality and the American religious imagination. Chicago ; London, University of Chicago Press. Zezima, K. (2007). Web Space Where Religion and Social Networking Meet. New York Times. New York. Armstrong, B. (1979). The Electronic Church. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Diller, E.. and R. Scofidio (2002). Blur : the making of nothing. New York, Harry N. Abrams. Paul Goldberger, “Conclusion” in Constructing the Ineffable, pp. 1-10. Latour, B. (2005). Making things public : atmospheres of democracy. Cambridge, Mass. [Karlsruhe, Germany], MIT Cox, H. G. (2009). The future of faith. New York, NY, HarperOne. Houellebecq, M.. and F. Wynne (2000). The elementary particles. New York, Knopf. Gladwell, M.. (2005). “The Cellular Church, How Rick Warren’s congregation grew.” The New Yorker Sept 12, 05 Wilson, J. L. (2004). Future Church. Nashville, Tennessee, Broadman & Holman Publishers. Melvin M.. Webber, “The Urban Place and The Non-Place Urban Realm,” in Melvin M.. Webber, John W. Dyckman, et al., eds., Explorations into Urban Structure (Pennsylvania, 1964): 79-120. William J. Mitchell, City of Bits (MIT Press, 1995): “Pulling Glass,” 3-7; “Electronic Agoras,” 7-24; “Soft Cities,” 107-133 (Also available at Thomas J. Campanella, “Webcameras and the Telepresent Landscape,” in Stephen Graham, ed., The Cybercities Reader (Routledge, 2004): 57-62. Smith, M.. W. (2007). The total work of art : from Bayreuth to cyberspace. New York, Routledge. Eisenman, P. (2007). Presentness and the Being-Only-Once of Architecture. Written into the void : selected writings, 1990-2004. New Haven, Yale University Press: 43-49. Vincent Scully, “The Earth, the Temple, and Today” in Constructing the Ineffable (with author’s permission), pp. 1-20. Alison Smithson, “How to Recognize and Read Mat-Building,” Architectural Design XLIV, 9 (1974): pp. Stan Allen, “The Thick 2-D: Mat-Building in the Contemporary City,” Practice: Architecture Technique + Representation, Expanded Second Edition (Abbingdon: Routledge, 2009), pp. 192-215.


Superordinary! : New Paradigms in Sacred Architecture  

This is a result of a graduate seminar at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. "Looking at the terminology it is very hard to understand i...

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