Thanks to Knoxville’s WBIR news station for drawing attention to one of my current book projects: an exploration of buildings that go from religious use (i.e. “church”) into other purposes. I’ve colloquially called these “church conversions,” recognizing that (1) most (though not all) of the adaptive reuse of houses of worship are impacting buildings once used by Christian denominations, (2) “church” evokes a particular image; and (3) buildings, like people, evidence “conversion” vis a vis religiously- and socially-inscribed identities. A congregation may exit their church space for reasons of decline (e.g. fewer attendees in one part of the city); growth (e.g. the need for a larger worship space); restructuring (e.g. the need to close Catholic parishes because of a priest shortage); finances (e.g. historic buildings can be expensive to maintain), and/or other sociological factors.
View the story on WBIR, and stay tuned for future publications from my ongoing research in this arena.