04 January 2006


AN INTERESTING PIECE in the year-end issue of the Economist discusses the megachurch as a uniquely American blend of capitalism and religion. The article fails, however, to touch on the architectural aspects of these enormous enterprises and how this revolution in American religious culture is deeply embedded in the larger context of suburbanity -- socially, economically, politically. After all, these congregations, these organizations -- and indeed, these buildings -- served a crucial role in the larger conservative network that helped to reelect our president last year. Certainly such a political purpose cannot be ignored. And remember: the architecture is no less complicit than those who sit inside it.

Check out Slate's slideshow from back in October for some examples of this emerging typology.

Also - does anyone know of any other research on the architecture of megachurches? I know Jeannie Kim did a studio titled "Superchurch" this past summer at Columbia GSAPP (syllabus here), but I haven't seen any of the output. Any other resources around?

link: Jesus, CEO from the Economist
link: An Anatomy of Megachurches from Slate


J said...

The two guys who won the Feldman Scholarship at Yale three years ago focused their thesis on that odd intersection of megachurches, nascar, and walmart. One fella was Andy Moddrell and the other was Chris Marstinkowski(sp?). Hope this helps.

J said...

Also theboxtank has an pretty big piece today on megachurch issues... http://www.theboxtank.com/walmartbox/2005/12/lakewood_church.html#more