Thursday, October 11, 2007

More communion, please....

Thisplaceis has an interesting post on sacred spaces. I found it interesting because my firm is currently prepping for our annual Principals' Meeting, a portion of which will be held at the recently opened Bar of Modern Art in Columbus, and I've always wondered about that rehab.

Developer Gary Gitlitz turned BoMA from an historic Baptist church into a bar/nightclub/100-seat dining room. Funny thing is....this is the I was fairly surprised when only I seemed to have reservations about the church-turned-into-house-o-sin metamorphosis.

Shin-pei Tsay, one of three contributors at Thisplaceis, brought up a location in New York that curbed my misgivings about sacred spaces in general (he also talked about absinthe, which gave me an instant flashback hangover). It's the New York City Marble Cemetery, a liger-like combination of somber reflection and socializing. Monday through Thursday it's your typical cemetery, but Friday through Sunday it's encouraged to be used as a park.

In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I believe that burial, in itself, is a selfish act. To me, it signifies a desperate grab at immortality by peeing on a tree and claiming it yours for all of eternity...or in this case a 6' x 4' plot of land. As a result, I'm now torn on these Eco-Cemeteries that appear to be popping up (or down) all over the place.

Anyway, so while I'm not planning on holding a burial after my party is busted God's police, I do, however, retain a large amount of respect for the land the ground-sleepers have chosen as their final resting place (lack of couth with terms like ground-sleepers notwithstanding).

To each their own...may their God/next life treat them well.

So prior to this I had never considered the notion that a place like a cemetery could be predispositioned as a shared-use space. Although the New York Marble Cemetery had (apparently) evolved into its shared-usedness (my word), why not make them into places of gathering/celebration/familia.

Likewise, is there really a problem with a church-turned-nightclub conversion if the conversion, when finished, is done tastefully, without disrespect to the prior history of that space? Although some might argue that a bar-conversion for a Baptist church like BoMA might not be the best renovation possible, the end result is, in all honesty, quite nice. And isn't a church intended for celebration?

Thoughts? Sacrilege or preservation?

Check out thisspaceis for pictures of the New York Marble Cemetery.