Architecture of Inversion

The architecture of inversion series is intent on redefining the public’s relationship to religious architecture.  By taking the exterior shape and volume of a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue and inverting it directly next to the existing structure, an excavation of space, time and geography begins.  This excavation does not create a void, but instead an expansive exploration of the structure and its site—including the history and politics that often surround these monumental buildings.

By filing the inverted excavation space with water as a tiled swimming pool, a recreational counterpoint is created that offers balance to the seriousness and rigidity of religious architecture and associated dogma. The swimming pool would serve as a multi-religious multi-ethnic cooling off point, from both arid summer temperatures and heated political rhetoric.  Additionally, with the transformation of these inverted structures into pools comes an acknowledgement of the importance of water rituals to different religious traditions be it baptism, tarpana, mikveh, suigyo, or tahara.

Of particular interest is how many religious structures dramatically rise or aspire upwards—as in a steeple, minaret, stupa, dome or spire.  These high points of the buildings, once inverted, would make the perfect depth for high-platform dives or the backdrop for aquatic services with the congregation in floatation vests and a choir with their arms linked so they do not float away.

Church Pool / Mashhad Pool from the architecture of inversion series is an ongoing work in progress that began in 2007.

These examples from the architecture of inversion series are part of two separate proposals: Mashhad Pool is from an exhibition where I was asked to choose any piece of architecture in the world and propose an alteration; Church Pool is from presentations to a series of religious leaders from a small Baptist church outside Memphis, Tennessee where I am working to gain permission and funding for this project. This project is ongoing.

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