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Why Scientologists Like to Buy Historical Buildings

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Anyone watching the Church of Scientology's work on buildings in Hollywood or Pasadena knows that the group always seems to be in expansion mode. And today's New York Times looks at the church's push to put up more structures-- called “ideal orgs ”--around the world. As it turns out, the church has strict specific criteria for each building. "Bob Wright, the church’s international construction supervisor, said the organization typically looked for buildings 'with a presence' in places with significant pedestrian traffic. Those criteria often lead it to historic buildings. Choosing historic buildings gives the church, which was established in 1954, “legitimacy as an established, historical religion and not just some new invention,” said Hugh B. Urban, a professor at Ohio State University who has completed a new book on Scientology." Architecture firm Gensler is the church's project architect, and the Gensler architect who worked on the Scientology building in Pasadena, a renovation of the 1906 Braley Building, tells the paper the new Scientology projects “are helping to revitalize the urban landscape.” True. But sometimes those Scientologists will just settle for an old nail salon. Image of Guaranty Building in 1923 in Hollywood via Design Observer.
· In Pasadena, a Model for Scientology’s Growth Plan [NYT]