Monday, July 25, 2011

World Reusers


I love the World Redeemers church on Lamar between Park and South Parkway. They have redeemed a defunct mid-sixties auto dealership with a new use, and with touches and flexibility that make it a model of hackitecture, mixing imagination, architectural reuse, personal taste and economic necessity together into a simple and visually evangelizing complex.

They haven't added any new buildings to the complex, with the exterior show lot still intact. However, they surrounded everything (including a much less visible side street boundary) with a wrought iron fence painted in the church's theme colors, purple and gold.

Front Wall

The Wall on Lamar

Up against the sidewalk, the fence gives definition to the complex and the street, as well as security; The wrought iron fence, which I'm fairly certain is a new touch, gives a a traditionally ecclesiastical presence to a car lot form.

But it's the reuse of the showroom and signage where WRC really shines. First they changed the string of roadside signs along Lamar from huckstering messages of "Used Cars" and "We Finance" to

Free Lifetime Membership


Come Be Our Guest

They also left the Service Entrance sign on the side of the showroom/sanctuary.

Service Entrance

At first I thought they left it there due to its height -- too hard to take down. However, they painted around it and above it and so I figure they could have removed it if they wanted. I believe it was it was left there intentionally, as that's part of the sanctuary. It continues the transformation of the commercial huckstering into religious evangelism.

The sanctuary is the original lot's main showroom (I actually looked at a car there when I was a teenager).

The Showroom


3 Windows

The show windows are gone, bricked in and embedded with gothic-arched stained glass. The form of this building is very much the same however.

Without a doubt, the most creative reimagining is of the 3 tailfin beams supporting the west wall and roof of the sanctuary.

Load Bearing Cross

To the 3 they added a 4th, a mirror of the original vertical beam, and completed the Cross.

And then they framed it in neon, again in the same color theme, for souls passing by in the dark.

Neon cross on Lamar

This complex is hackitecture at its best -- reused, imaginative, visual, eccentric.

A city like Memphis that is poor in resources but rich in imagination is the perfect studio for works like this church.

Memphis could be, should be, the world capital of hackitecture.

Pointing to Heaven

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