Megachurch | Worlds Away

Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes


Walker Art Center,
February 16 - August 17, 2008

Carnegie Museum of Art,
October 4, 2008 - January 18, 2009

Yale School of Architecture
March 2 - May 10, 2009

Because suburbia occupies a dominant presence in so many lives—a place of not only residence but also of work, commerce, worship, education, and leisure—it has become a focal point for competing interests and viewpoints. The suburbs have always been a fertile space for imagining both the best and the worst of modern social life. more

Exhibition Photos

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Drawn Here: Sean Griffiths of FAT
Target Free Thursday Nights
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Saturday, April 5 10:00 am to 3:00 pm


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All essays are originally from the companion book for this exhibition, Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes. Some essays appear in excerpted form where noted.

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We asked people to make a video telling us about the suburbs and put it on YouTube. Selected videos are showing in the gallery at the Walker Art Center during the run of the exhibition.

Selected Videos

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Original Submission Call

See YouTube video call

Do you live in a suburb? Do you work or go to school in one? What is your experience of the “burbs? ”…

Whether you love them or hate them we’re interested in your thoughts on the phenomenon of the American suburb. We invite you to make a 5-minute video about strip malls, cul-de-sacs, office parks, and green lawns or whatever suburbia means to you. A select number of videos will be chosen to screen as part of the exhibition Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes in the Target Gallery from February 15 to May 18, 2008.

To participate, upload your video to YouTube and add the tag “walkerworldsaway” or post it as a response to our video above. We’ll feature all videos on the Walker’s YouTube page. To be considered for gallery screening, entries must be 5 minutes or less and be online by January 18, 2008.

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A church with a congregation of two thousand or more worshippers at each weekly service and characterized, in part, through the use of nontraditional music, theatrical lighting, sophisticated audio systems, and display technologies.

Although Protestant in origin, more than half of U.S. megachurches are nondenominational. Unlike that of traditional churches, the architectural language of megachurches tends toward the secular. One of the largest such congregations in the United States is the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, which uses a converted sports arena (once home to the Houston Rockets) to seat sixteen thousand worshippers. Though extreme in size, they tend not to be as ornate as the cathedrals of an earlier era. Architectural critic Witold Rybczynski notes that megachurches often resemble performing arts centers, community colleges, or corporate headquarters.1 They also tend to include a variety of spaces for the benefit of their congregation: the Willow Creek Community Church of Chicago, situated on a 155-acre site, features two sanctuaries, a gym and recreation center, a bookstore, a food court, and a cappuccino bar. “Megachurches celebrate comfort, ease and the very idea of contemporary suburban life.”2


1 Witold Rybczynski, “An Anatomy of Megachurches: The New Look for Places of Worship,” Slate magazine (October 20, 2005). (↑)

2 Paul Goldberger, “The Gospel of Church Architecture, Revised,” New York Times, April 20, 1995. (↑)


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