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Fred Scruton and Richard Huntington
Urban Conversions: Reflections in Adaptive Religious Architecture

October 3 - October 24, 2001

This exhibition is the work of photographer Fred Scruton and art critic Richard Huntington. Their subject is the adaptation for worship by urban religious communities of architectural structures originally meant for other purposes. A rich area of study, both in terms of cultural dynamics and the social and aesthetic issues related to the program of any architectural design, certain aspects of the project assume special poignancy in the light of recent events.

We value freedom above all other benefits offered the citizens of a democratic nation, and it is the urban environment that best represents the living, breathing reality of that freedom. For it is on the streets of the endlessly evolving city that one becomes acutely aware of small groups forever in the process of rebuilding, restoring and renewing. Representing a global variety of traditions, these religious groups focus their energy on family and community. With limited financial resources and inspired creativity they apply that universal spiritual energy that lies at the heart of all the world’s religions to forgotten buildings and abandoned neighborhoods, leaving us all the beneficiaries of their humble efforts.

Richard Huntington’s text explores how Post-Modern architectural theory can be applied with surprising clarity to these unpretentious and intuitive designs. He sees this work as community-born – as a "pragmatic modification of a structure free from standard mainstream design solutions." Fred Scruton amplifies the visual power of this unique architecture with his extraordinary skill in the use of the large format camera. These are no simple snapshots. Creating the 8 x 10 transparencies used to make these Iris prints involves surmounting difficulties in weather and light conditions, geometric distortion, and often call upon the artist to apply unusual techniques like pre-exposure to gain shadow detail and control color.

Together, Fred Scruton’s artistic vision and Richard Huntington’s critical voice reveal how small communities bring a life energy to places where it had been scarce, and create a spiritual vitality entirely consistent with the energy of the metropolis.

At this particular historical juncture the spirit of these communities stands in stark and hopeful contrast to those few whose faith seems to have led them inexplicably down a path of mindless destruction.

Peter Malone


Exhibition Checklist

God's House, Buffalo, NY - 1994 ... image

Philadelphia Church of Universal Brotherhood, Brooklyn, NY - 1995

Bait-Ul-Islam Jam-E-Masjid, Detroit, MI - 2000

Christ's Vineyard Christian Reformed Church, Chicago, IL - 1999

Praise Tabernacle Church, Buffalo, NY 1998

Israel of God, Buffalo, NY 1998

New Societies Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, AL - 2000

Abundant Faith Apostolic Believers Community Church, Tampa, FL - 2000

Iglesia Christiana Mizpa, Brooklyn, NY - 1995

Greater St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church, St. Louis, MO - 1999

Peoples First Baptist Church, Brooklyn, NY - 1997

Sterling Place, Brooklyn, NY - 1994

Glory Temple, Buffalo, NY - 1997

True Light Missionary Baptist Church, Philadelphia, PA - 1999

Park Place, Brooklyn, NY - 1997

Harvest Gathering Church of God in Christ, Richmond, VA - 2000

Mt. Moriah, Buffalo, NY - 1994

Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY - 1995

The Arc of Light Holiness Church, Buffalo, NY 1995

Mt. Calvary C.O.G.I.C, Newark, NJ - 1999

St. Timothy Holy Church, Brooklyn, NY - 1996

River West Community Church, Milwaukee, WI - 1999

Kinsman C.O.G.I.C, Cleveland, OH - 1999

Pillar of Truth Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY - 1999

Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, Detroit, MI - 2000

Church of Saint Luke Holy Temple of God, Buffalo, NY - 1997

Try Jesus C.O.G.I.C, Buffalo, NY - 1997

Holy Ghost Number One Headquarters, Buffalo, NY 1997

Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY - 1995

God's Mustard Seed Church, Cleveland, OH - 1998

Grace Bible Tabernacle, Newark, NJ - 1999

True Love Missionary Baptist Church, Toledo, OH - 1998

Segunda Iglesia Evangelica Pentacostal "Sion," Buffalo, NY - 1996

Prayer of Holiness Church, Buffalo, NY 1997

Bride of Christ, Buffalo, NY - 1998

Church of St. Luke Holy Temple of God, Buffalo, NY - 1997

Bait-Ul-Islam Jam-E-Masjid, Detroit, MI - 2000

Jesus Gospel Bible Band and Mission, Toledo, OH - 1998

Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY - 1994

St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY - 1992




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