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Adaptive reuse of churches/religious structures


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Boy, it would be sacrilege here to use a curch for ANYTHING but being a church; it just wouldn't fly here.

For anyone who watches The Shield, I thought it was interesting how they use a church (styled after a real church in the LA area) as a police station. Something about an adobe cross over where the detectives work makes for a great juxtaposition.

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Here are the ones I have.

This is the former Bethel AME Church in downtown Columbia, SC, now serving as the home of the Bethel Cultural Arts Center:


These are a few from uptown Charlotte.

The former East Avenue Tabernacle Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church, now home of the Great Aunt Stella Center events venue:


The former home of the Little Rock AME Zion Church, now home of the Afro-American Cultural Center (until it moves into new dibs as part of the Wachovia complex now under construction):



The former home of First Baptist Church, now McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square Center for Arts & Education:


McColl Center for Visual Art, formerly First ARP Church:


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Pittsburgh has a number of reused churches and synagogues besides the already mentioned night club. Some have been turned into living space or schools, for instance.

A favorite of mine is this community center/coffee shop: http://www.unionproject.org/Home

Then there's one that was turned into a brewery/restaurant. Here's a pic I found on Google: http://www.bibula.com/new/images/TheChurchBrewWorks_2.jpg

(I'll just link it since it's a large pic)

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One of the churches in Lexington, Kentucky was reused as the Joe Balogna's restaurant along Maxwell Street. The interior features a 'loft' seating area which is quite nice.

Another disused church on Upper Street is a church clothing drive setup. It will be demolished soon, however.

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Old churches have a lot of beautiful features like arched stonework, soaring ceilings, mezzanines and balconies, that can really be adapted into some cool spaces. Especially with inner-city churches losing membership to the suburban mega-churches, they create some great opportunities for redevelopment.

Not in our metro, but some others I found a couple of months ago doing some research:

Church to condos in the UK







Chicago condo


Hobbs + Black Architecture in Ann Arbor, MI





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Here in Providence, the Rhode Island School of Design has used an old church on Benefit Street as their mailroom and painting studios for years. Sorry I can't find a better picture of it:



The central nave has served as one of the nicest studios on campus...

In the shoreline town of Niantic, CT, private owners have turned an old church into a Bed and Breakfast:


And a few miles away from that, in the village of Flanders, they turned a tiny Catholic Chapel into a hair salon called That Look... :huh:

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For many years, downtown Augusta was unique in that it had three rather large Catholic churches all within a few blocks of each other. It also had a downtown Catholic school and a Jesuit college. By the 30s and 40s, however, downtown had lost its luster. Even then people were flocking to the suburbs. Most of the wealthy had long since fled to an area known as the Hill--about three miles from downtown. Due to the exodus (especially of the wealthy parishioners) the downtown churches kept decreasing in size, until in the 70s, the Diocese decided to close Sacred Heart, and send those parishioners to Most Holy Trinity (a larger parish formerly known as St. Patrick's). By the 80s, this once gorgeous church was on the verge of being demolished. A local family was so horrified at the loss of Sacred Heart, that they bought the church from the Diocese, promising to care for the structure as if it was still a Church. Today, the sounds of the Symphony, local Choral groups, various church choirs, weddings, receptions, proms, and balls are held in this structure. It is an imposing structure coming into Augusta from the west. These photos do it no justice---it is the prettiest Catholic church in the state of Georgia (yes, I'm including the St. John the Baptist in Savannah).






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  • 3 months later...

The First Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, MS is building a new campus and is in the process of negotiating a deal with the City of Hattiesburg on selling the building. The city plans to use it to house there Fire, Police, and Urban Development departments. Also the main sactuary is set to be used as a new courthouse. If the sale goes through I am sure it will be interesting. The church is about 87,000 square feet.

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  • 5 months later...

Many chapels and churches within central Indianapolis have been converted into apartments, condos, theaters, office space, etc(most while retaining the historical interior craftsmanship.) This one used to be abandoned, and was doomed untill developers decided to re-use it. The churchtowers have had their steeples cut down in the 1960's, and I think they are trying to restore them.


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  • 1 year later...


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