Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
We are in need of a new sense of community, that doesn’t rely upon religion. There exists a demand to adapt the church typology to meet the needs of current society rather than allowing these important buildings to be demolished or preserved indefinitely in an unneeded state.
With the decline of Christian religious practice in America, thousands of churches become underutilized or vacant every year, leaving these icons with strong religious associations empty. This abandonment simultaneously impacts the communities these churches once held together. Today’s generations’ sense of community has transitioned from physical to virtual connections, leading to less meaningful in-person relationships and a loss of strong self-identity.
New communities can exist without religion, but they have to be created and should be housed in the same buildings that previously housed religious communities. A shift towards an ethical churchless society is possible, but needs to be planned consciously. Using the Sunday Assembly, an all-inclusive community-building worldwide organization, as the primary inhabitant of the deconsecrated Holy Trinity Church in the South End of Boston, we can bring the needs of the community back into this iconic structure. In order to remove the possibility of failure due to reliance on donations, a secondary program of a boutique hotel will be added to the building. This also continuously brings new people into the space, and helps to remove religious associations from the building. Using the addition of layers of Sunday Assembly meeting space and boutique hotel to subtract the religious iconography, the church can become a building without religious associations.
Benjamin, Kirby, "Community in a post-diest world" (2015). Masters Theses. 5.