Sacred Spaces, Civic Places: Adapting Sacred Places for Today’s Civic Needs

Session Title: Sacred Spaces, Civic Places: Adapting Sacred Places for Today’s Civic Needs
Educational Track: Design
Session Code: TH0519
Date: Thursday, October 17, 2019
Time: 2:45 PM – 4:15 PM

How can historic sacred places support civic engagement, social cohesion, and neighborhood equity? Philadelphia is losing its historic churches, synagogues, and mosques to demolition and adaptive use. 

The Sacred Places Civic Spaces project joined three congregations and community partners—The Philadelphia Masjid and People’s Emergency Center, Wharton-Wesley United Methodist Church and ACHIEVEability, and Zion Baptist Church and Called to Serve CDC— with multi-disciplinary design teams.

The presenters will share their community engagement process, the resulting design proposals, the next steps identified to turn these proposals into built reality, and the various solutions that are needed to preserve and protect historic sacred places.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Use community engagement and asset mapping techniques to build consensus regarding possible future programs for historic places,
  • Develop design solutions that maximize alternative uses for the range of diverse spaces typically found within existing sacred buildings,
  • Create more flexible, inviting, and accessible uses in historic sacred buildings while respecting the character of the existing building,
  • Integrate the opportunities and limitations of working within existing purpose-built structures and adapting those buildings to accommodate contemporary programmatic demands.

Content Leaders:

Brian Szymanik, AIA

Principal, Studio 6mm, Philadelphia, PA

David Quadrini, AIA

Principal, Studio 6mm, Philadelphia, PA