Art-Meets-Architecture Installation in Detroit Celebrates the Black Church

As part of the Detroit Month of Design, architect and educator Aaron Jones collaborated with Detroit DJ and producer Waajeed to create an immersive installation that celebrated the Black church.

Sal Rodriguez
Sal Rodriguez

Architect and educator Aaron Jones wanted to find a way to celebrate the Black churches in Detroit. 

“They’re significant. They’re emblematic of a lot of cultural legacies within the city,” says Jones, who teaches architecture at Lawrence Technical University. 

“The architecture is remarkable,” adds Jones. “It has details, materials and finishes that we won’t necessarily see again.”

Jones recently took his online project of digitally archiving churches and turned it into an immersive, in-person art installation for the Detroit Month of Design. It was put on display at Talking Dolls, an experimental studio and community space on the city’s east side.

The result was “Web Model Dot Space,” which is the URL for the online archival project. It’s a suspended, bell-line dome that makes the patron feel like they are standing inside of an existing Detroit church.

To round out the experience, Jones collaborated with Detroit DJ and producer Waajeed. For his part, Waajeed created a series of “worship tones” — two looping, meditative tracks that play inside of the structure.

Listen: Hear the full conversation with architect Aaron Jones alongside the music Waajeed created for “Web Model Dot Space.”

“It’s a type of music that has a level of nuance that requires a different type of infrastructure,” says Jones. “It borrows from some of the slowness and contemplative nature of how people might react in a museum or a gallery space. It allows them to engage with this music in a different way than a club or a more formal performance venue.”

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.