The Restored Temple

Classical architecture meets contemporary art.

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As startling as this image is, it is absolutely beautiful.

A local skateboard association in northern Spain took an abandoned church, built in 1912, and turned it into a skatepark. Okuda San Miguel, a street artist from Madrid, then filled the white walls and domed ceilings with bright, bold colors and geometric patterns.

Kaos Temple is one of a kind and has already been likened to the Sistine Chapel. It is a place where people who share a passion can gather. It is a symbol of innovation and the culture of our time.

This is a great example of the power of art and how it can completely change things. The building proudly displays the extraordinary contrast between old and new and what happens when they seamlessly work together. The result is breathtaking.

What if you replaced all the pews in your church with skateboard ramps?

Ok, please don’t go and tell your pastor I said it’s okay to turn the sanctuary into a skate park- Bacon is Delicious got me into enough trouble. Just hear me out.

What if your church building became a symbol of the future and not the past? What if it became a place that represented passion instead of conflict?

Church congregations are getting smaller and smaller (I’m not even getting into why in this post) and older members are forced to deal with rising maintenance costs. I cannot tell you how many churches I have been to with old boilers, broken pews, and cracked stained glass windows (which are all VERY expensive to replace by the way). Then there are the outdated kitchens, energy sucking chandeliers, and endless stairs that the church mothers have difficulty navigating. Do you know how many times I’ve gotten stuck on the stairs after church because somebody’s grandma was making her weekly descent to the fellowship hall?

To put it simply, traditional church buildings are not working too well for 21st century living and shrinking congregations cannot afford $2 million renovations. As a result many churches are closing and the buildings are being put up for sale. In some cases, the buildings are simply abandoned.

So what do we do with all these outdated and/or empty church buildings?

There’s a trend right now where architecture firms or developers repurpose old churches into office spaces, banks, and even condos, lofts, or apartments. While I love the the architectural challenge and potential beauty of these new spaces, perhaps places of worship should remain a place to gather and not be commercialized. Maybe we should seek to rebuild them into the community epicenters they once were. What if these important architectural landmarks became a true reflection of our time and not just another set of new apartments that we can’t afford?

How can architects and designers create spaces that celebrate diversity, mutual understanding, and respect? Can Christians think beyond weekly services and move towards forming a place that contributes to its community more than just one day a week? Could we turn an empty church parking lot into a public outdoor space that’s open to everyone- even those who don’t claim any religion?

Maybe I’m being too idealistic. But hey, Kaos Temple managed to do just about all those things and its members don’t claim any religion- unless you count skateboarding. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was one in every community?

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