ULX Oct 09


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Recycled Religious Buildings
New uses—ranging from a climbing center to a bookstore—transform historic houses of worship.

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ULX Oct 09

  1. 1. ulx Recycled Religious Buildings ron nyren When changing demographics, declining rates by adapting them for new uses, whether by provid- New uses—ranging from of observance, or economic forces cause a religious ing multifamily housing or by hosting cultural, retail, a climbing center to a facility to go dark, a vital resource is lost. Because recreational, or nonprofit functions—all of which also the buildings often have long histories and significant bring people together. bookstore—transform architecture, demolishing them furthers the erasure. Around the globe, however, organizations and Ron nyRen is a freelance architecture and urban design writer based in the historic houses of worship. individuals have found ways to save these structures San Francisco Bay Area.
  2. 2. AnAliA nAnni Di AnAliA nAnni Dimit 1. Brownstones at Derbyshire CLeveLanD HeigHts, oHio Nicknamed the “Red Door Church,” the 1930s Gothic-style First English architects restored historic details such as oak woodwork and Lutheran Church of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, became vacant when the limestone masonry and preserved original stained-glass windows. congregants disbanded in 2002. Local developer Derbyshire Partners, LLC, The project also included the addition of three new one-bedroom acquired the property and brought in GSI Architects of Cleveland, with carriage-house units over a series of enclosed garages as well Scott M. Dimit as project designer, to transform the site into multifamily as 12 townhouses organized around courtyards (above left). In residences. With the insertion of two upper floors, the church itself now memory of the old church building’s distinctive feature, all of the contains five vertical townhouses (above right). Wherever possible, the entry doors in the development are painted red.
  3. 3. 2. Glebe Lofts toronto, ontario, CanaDa In Toronto’s residential neighborhood of Riverdale, the Riverdale Presbyterian Church started out in a 1912 building designed by Toronto architect J. Wilson Gray. As the congregation grew, the church added an expansion to the south in 1920. In more recent years, however, that growth has reversed, so the congregation reverted to the original structure and sold the newer portion to local developer Mitchell & Associates. The interior of the red brick Gothic Revival structure was divided into 32 condominiums. Each unit has at least two stories and a private balcony, garden, or rooftop terrace. On the third level, the original vaulted ceilings and exposed ceiling trusses remain, com- plemented by new skylights. Parking is placed underground, and a subway stop is close by. The project was completed in 2003. AlAn ADAms
  4. 4. 3. Josaphat Arts Hall CLeveLanD, oHio Paintings and sculpture are now on view in the former nave of the 1915 Saint Josaphat Catholic Church. The parish moved out in 1998, unable to finance the continued upkeep of the deteriorating structure. Local art gallery owner Alenka Banco purchased the building in 2001 and renamed it the Josaphat Arts Hall. Located in the St. Clair–Superior neighborhood close to Cleveland’s downtown, the edifice required extensive restoration, including installation of a new roof, repair of the ceiling and woodwork, addition of new landscaping and lighting, and replacement of the front doors. Opened in 2005, Banco’s Convivium33 gallery showcases the work of northern Ohio artists. Spaces that once served as the nunnery and the rec- tory are now leased out as arts business studios, which hold classes and JosAphAt Arts hAll workshops. Appropriately enough, one of the businesses is a stained-glass designer. Banco also rents out the nave for community and private events, such as wedding receptions, fundraisers, and nonprofit functions.
  5. 5. 4. Kolumba, Art Museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne CoLogne, germany During World War II, bombs destroyed almost all of Cologne’s historic city center, including most of the Gothic Saint Kolumba Church. In the 1950s, the Archdiocese of Cologne transformed the church’s ruins into a memorial garden. When archaeologists unearthed Roman, Gothic, and medieval ruins on the site, a roof was added to shield them from the elements. Seeking a better protective solution—and a place to house a collection of religious art ranging from antiquity to contemporary times—the archdio- cese commissioned Atelier Zumthor of Haldenstein, Switzerland, to design a museum that would incorporate the ruins. Zumthor built the facility on the same ground plan as the Saint Kolumba Church, integrating the old walls into new ones of gray brick. A band of open brickwork lets light, air, and street noise filter into the tall-ceilinged ground-floor space, which encloses the older ruins as well as a chapel built during the 1950s. The two floors above the ground level contain hélène Binet exhibition rooms. The project was completed in 2007.
  6. 6. ulx 5. Manchester Climbing Centre manCHester, engLanD A group of local mountain climbers, including well-known competition climber John Dunne, were looking for a place to establish a climbing center in Manchester, England. They found a home in the vacant 19th-century Saint Benedict’s Church in the city’s district of Ardwick, which the Diocese of Manchester had declared redundant in 2002 because of low numbers of parishioners. An emergency grant from English Heritage, the U.K. government’s statutory adviser on the historic environment, helped fund repairs to the roof and leadwork. The Manchester Climbing Centre opened in 2005 as one of Europe’s largest climbing centers. Its high vaulted ceiling allowed for the installation of a climbing wall 66 feet (20 m) tall. Because the edifice is listed on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register, all alterations had to be reversible, so the climbing wall is freestanding. A café and climbing equipment store occupy the mezzanine DAviD simmonite DAviD simmonite level. The center also leases a meeting/ activity room to community and chari- table groups.
  7. 7. 6. Mason Lofts oak Park, iLLinois In 1906, a congregation of Presbyterians built a small church in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chi- cago. Twenty years later, the congregation erected a larger church on the same lot. The smaller build- ing eventually went on to house a Masonic lodge for more than three decades until the late 1980s, when it became vacant and remained so for a dozen years. Then local resident Peter Robinson purchased the structure and obtained a zoning variance to reconfigure it into four residential units with underground parking. Architect David Seglin of HSP/Ltd. in Chicago added a mezzanine level, skylights, and roof terrace gardens. Reinforcing the ground level’s subfloor beams enabled excavation to create underground parking for six cars. Other work includes roof and exterior wall repairs. To provide sufficient insulation without disrupting the historic facades, interior storm windows were discreetly tucked behind the original windows, which were DAviD A. seglin restored. The project was completed in 2004. The site’s larger 1920s church currently hosts services for Our Lady Immaculate Church.
  8. 8. 7. Mill Residences baLmain, new soUtH waLes, aUstraLia In Balmain, a suburb of Sydney, the 1908 MacNeil Memorial Presbyterian Church occupies the site of the area’s last mill. Much of the church’s interior was remodeled during the 1960s to house a child care center. In 2007, local developer Ganellen Pty. Ltd. and Baker Kavanagh Architects of Sydney completed a project to strip the interior back to its original fabric, insert two apartments, and add two new terraced houses (left). The designers restored the facades to the east, west, and south, which are visible to the street. Because the existing leadlight windows did not permit views, large glazed openings were cut into the north-facing roof to discreetly bring in natural light and views of the sky and to facilitate natural ventila- ©richArD powers photogrApher ©richArD powers photogrApher tion. The units located within focus around internal courtyards. Placed at the other end of the block from the church, the new ter- raced houses have a contemporary aesthetic of steel, glass, and masonry to contrast with the historic structure.
  9. 9. 8. National Center for the Preservation of Democracy Los angeLes, CaLifornia The Nishi Hompa Hongwanji Temple in downtown Los Angeles has a layered history: built in 1925, the Buddhist temple originally served as a reli- gious, cultural, and social center for the city’s Little Tokyo neighborhood. The facility’s ornate architec- ture incorporates elements of a Japanese temple with Middle Eastern influences. Later, the building was put to use as a staging area during the intern- ment of Japanese Americans in 1942. In 1987, the Japanese American National Museum took up residence; 12 years later, it expanded into a new adjoining structure. The National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, a nonprofit institution affiliated with the museum, opened in the former temple in 2005 with the goal of fostering education and dialogue about democracy. Local firm Levin & Associates Architects adapted the historic spaces to house exhibitions and workshops and designed an addi- tion that includes a new main entrance and the tom Bonner 200-seat Democracy Forum. Clad in metal and glass curtain wall, the addition provides a con- temporary contrast to the historic structure while emphasizing transparency and accessibility.
  10. 10. ulx 9. Selexyz Dominicanen Bookstore maastriCHt, tHe netHerLanDs In Maastricht, the Netherlands, a 13th-century Dominican church is now a bookstore. Since the late 18th century, the structure had served various secular purposes, such as a bicycle storage space, city archive, and annual carnival loca- tion, until the Boekhandels Groep Nederland (BGN), head- quartered in Houten, the Netherlands, initiated the idea to transform it into a bookstore. Architecture firm Merkx+Girod of Amsterdam, which had already designed two bookstores for BGN, was asked to redesign the church interior and provide 13,000 square feet (1,200 sq m) of retail space. The catch: the building offered only 8,100 square feet (750 sq m) of floor area. Instead of adding a second floor, which would have diminished the architectural quality of the space, the designers inserted a stand-alone, multilevel, walk-in bookcase along the right side of the nave. Stairs and an elevator allow browsers to s AlDershoff/merkx+giroD reach the higher shelves and to view the architecture and the ceiling paintings dating back as far as the 1300s. The bookstore was completed in 2007.
  11. 11. 10. Union Project PittsbUrgH, PennsyLvania The turn-of-the-century Union Baptist Church at the intersection of Pittsburgh’s High- land Park and East Liberty neighborhoods had seen better days: there were holes in the roof and almost all of the stained-glass windows were broken. But 11 young Men- nonites participating in a voluntary service program saw potential for the building to once again serve as a community resource. In 2001, they formed a nonprofit organiza- tion called the Union Project. With a design grant from the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh, the Union Project and the Highland Park Community Development Cor- poration brought in local firm Desmone & Associates Architects to develop a plan to renovate the structure to provide offices, meeting and performance space, and artist studios. In addition to renting space for com- munity use, the building hosts a produc- tion pottery company employing high school youth as well as a café that trains youth aging out of foster care. Repairing the stained glass would have cost an estimated $1 million, so the organization offered stained-glass restoration classes, with volunteers learning skills while ion proJect stAff repairing the church windows. UL son cohen