A Brief History of Money and Religion

God is dead. In 1973, Nixon abandoned the gold standard for fixed exchange rates based on the value of the dollar. Shortly thereafter, fixed rates were replaced by floating rates. Suddenly, the value of money is tied to nothing except itself. Money becomes a sign of a sign. According to Taylor, this change in the world economic system paralleled the death of God in theology.[32]

Citicorp Center, 1974-8. Architecture demonstrated this as well. If you look below the left corner of the skyscraper, you see a small building: the Citicorp Center Church. The church now imitates the bank. Money is God. We've come full circle and arrived in the fully secular world that started to emerge with the introduction of coins in 561 B.C., when, according to Taylor, the gods died and were reincarnated as money.

A parallel is seen in Richard Meier's 1978-1981 Hartford Seminary - religion is no longer housed in a classical temple. It's housed in a building that looks like a bank.

In veracular architecture, a similar shift appears. Although the pediment refers to the classical temple, the church is named after the industrial infrastructure (the Parkway), rather than after a saint. Religion honors industry, and by extension, money and commerce.

Richard Meier's 1983 High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, demonstrates that museums are also no longer temples. Religious and museum architecture reflect the architecture of money and commerce, i.e. corporate architecture. The church is no longer the patron. Commerce, represented by the corporation, is the patron.