Urban Studies Senior Seminar Papers

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Kelly, Kristen. "Profound & Profane Places: The Adaptive Reuse of Sacred Spaces in Philadelphia." University of Pennsylvania, Urban Studies Program. 2016.


Purpose built churches from the late 19th and early 20th century are typical neighborhood landmarks and can be seen throughout Philadelphia. In addition to the massive architectural value that these buildings hold, they capture significant cultural and religious heritage for the city and its residents. Though many churches today are facing difficulties maintaining properties, new forms of use have emerged which bring new life into sacred spaces. This research examines the role of adaptive reuse in providing opportunities for the preservation of historic church buildings. It also investigates the successes and failures of two recent adaptive reuse projects in Philadelphia of sacred spaces originally designed by Frank Furness. This research seeks to illustrate the value purpose built churches hold for their communities, and demonstrate the renewed relevance they possess when provided with new uses.



Date Posted: 09 June 2016