Scientology: Secrets of the Super Power Building

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The Voice has obtained hundreds of new renderings of Scientology's Super Power Building in Clearwater, Florida, as well as a comprehensive collection of its architectural drawings. [Go here for our primer: What is Scientology? Update: More renderings of the building's odder features. And we reveal part of how the Super Power Rundown itself works.]

A few renderings of Scientology's expensive new "mecca" were published as long ago as 2007, but that release, and a few since, have included only a few images of how the building's interiors will look once it is finished.

This new leak of material to the Voice is much more comprehensive, and includes detailed information down to the building's fasteners, fixtures, and signage, not to mention its major architectural schematics.

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard devised the "Super Power Rundown" in 1978. He envisioned it as a series of counseling routines, some of which would be used to enhance the human senses with the use of elaborate and futuristic platforms and machines. Hubbard died in 1986, and it wasn't until the early 1990s that the rundown was performed on a few wealthy donors at Scientology's secretive "Int Base" in the California desert. Then, in November 1998, Hubbard's successor, church leader David Miscavige, broke ground on a massive new building project, "Flag Mecca," known commonly as the Super Power Building, where the new rundown would be housed. Thirteen years and $145 million in fundraising later, the building is thought to be largely completed, but it is still not open for business. On the following pages you'll get a detailed look at what's inside...


Exteriors and Ground Floor

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In November, the (formerly) St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) published a devastating expose about Scientology's obsession with fundraising. The series, "The Money Machine," appeared in four parts, and the final installment was about the Super Power Building and what a cash cow it has been since Miscavige broke ground.

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The exterior of the building has been completed for several years.
After the 1998 start, the exterior of the building went up, then construction halted in 2003. But St. Pete Times journalists Tom Tobin and Joe Childs revealed that fundraising for it never stopped.

Construction started again in 2009, but this year, the city of Clearwater hit Scientology with a fine of $413,500 for overruns and delays. It's believed that the building's interiors, designed by the Atlanta firm Gensler, are largely finished. When Tobin and Childs asked the church in November when the building might finally be opened, spokeswoman Karin Pouw replied, "Soon."

As we mentioned before, several renderings have been released in the press of Gensler's designs for the building's interiors, including some that show the fifth floor's futuristic "Perceptics" installations -- about which we'll have much more later in this story.

The files leaked to the Voice include those renderings and many more, as well as hundreds of architectural drawings that go into minute detail. For the most part, we're using those schematics to help us describe the facility, and we're not going to release drawings whole -- we're not going to open ourselves up to the claim that we're creating a security problem for an already paranoid organization.

However, we do want to provide some limited glimpses at that material -- call it fair use. For example, if you go into the building at its grand entrance on its northwest corner, then hook a left around the reception desk to a door that pulls open toward you, then make another left, you'll find yourself at the door to the Commodore's Office.

Every Scientology "org" is supposed to create an office for Hubbard, even 26 years after his death, in case the "old man" suddenly returns. Here's what his office looks like on one of the architectural drawings, just one small room in a city-block sized building...

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[Most images will enlarge if you click on them.] Here's the office in a couple of renderings. First, a view from left of the entrance, looking at Hubbard's desk to the right, and a ship model on the far wall...

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And here's another view, from behind Hubbard's chair...

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But let's back up and start from the outside. Several renderings of the exterior were made, including a few showing the Super Power Building lit up at night. Fancy!

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We also found that even the exterior landscaping was planned by Scientology's pricey architects, as we learned from renderings like this...

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So let's go inside. Here's the first place you'll encounter when you go in the grand entrance, the reception area leading to the building's big first floor "Atrium." On the far side is the Atrium itself. To the left of that entrance is a display of the "Materials Guide Chart" -- a schematic of all the Hubbard books and other materials church members are expected to purchase and learn during their careers as they move up "The Bridge to Total Freedom," which has its own schematic on the right side of the Atrium passageway...

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Here's another view from the reception area, looking to the left and revealing another wall display, "Organizations Around the World." (Behind that display is the door -- not visible in this view -- which leads to the Commodore's Office which we mentioned before)...

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Let's head on into the Atrium itself, due south of the reception area. Quite a few of L. Ron Hubbard's basic Dianetics and Scientology concepts are represented in sculpture and other displays here. The tall, ribbon-like structure to the left is meant to evoke the "Tone Scale," which Hubbard invented (or discovered, depending on how you feel about it) and is used to describe a person's emotional state -- the higher you go, the better off you are. Other sculptures evoke Hubbard's "dynamics" -- his concept of different contexts in which we try to survive (self, family, group, mankind, animals and plants, physical universe, spirit, infinity)...

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Let's move further in and then turn back, looking north at the entrance where we came in. The Tone Scale is now on our right, and it looks to me that sculptures representing the fourth and fifth dynamics -- mankind and animals -- are to the left...

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And now a look from above, showing the entire Atrium...

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A look out the Atrium's western windows, with sculptures representing dynamics one through four visible...

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And what would an Atrium be without a cafe?

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Now let's go through some doors just north of the Atrium cafe and then hook a right, taking us into...the big chapel!

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The real stuff of Scientology involves members working individually with auditors or on their own. But sensitive to public perception, orgs put on "Sunday Services" with the help of "volunteer ministers." Chuck Beatty, a former Sea Org member and something of an unofficial church historian, tells me that the ministers choose from a standard set of "sermons" -- about 90 of them.

"It's just a show, but some people go on Sunday for the show," he says. Weddings are also held in the chapel. Here's another view, with a better look at some of that timeless Hubbard wisdom etched on the windows: One of them appears to read, "In the beginning and forever is the decision and the decision is TO BE."

Major.

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Now let's head back up to the north end of the building. Just outside the Commodore's office we showed you before, there's this small foyer, dedicated to the Sea Organization, Scientology's hardcore elite of workers who sign billion-year contracts and agree to work for the church, lifetime after lifetime, for about $50 a week. In this view you can see a tribute to the yacht Apollo from which Hubbard ran Scientology while plying the Mediterranean in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Each Friday, we publish excerpts from the dispatches that Hubbard produced during this time.)

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Looking back from the opposite end of the room, there's a tribute to Scientology's private cruise ship, the Freewinds, which was the subject of a series of stories recently about a young woman, Valeska Paris, who says she was held on the vessel against her will from 1996 to 2007.

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And there's also this recreation of a deck on the Apollo, complete with lifeboat and a jovial photo of the Commodore himself...

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Now let's head through a doorway and down a hall to the east. We'll pass by a stairway, and then on our left we come to Flag Mecca's boardroom...

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Next to the boardroom is a public entrance and reception room. According to an architectural drawing, it includes a listing of job openings -- score!

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Now let's head south, to one of many large course rooms on this level. (Is the sheer scale of this building starting to hit you yet?) This one has a couple of different labels, Division 6B Theory Room, and Public Courses Practical, but as long as superhuman training is going on, does the name matter?

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Moving back a little west, we reach a place where the real action happens. These are small offices for registrars -- the true stars of Scientology, who work day and night to pry cash out of their fellow church members...

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Now that we've had that whiff of money, let's head upstairs!



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258 comments
thetimchannel
thetimchannel

I'm imagining the cool new mall that will be recreated out of this money pit when Scientology goes belly up.  Enjoy.

SoCalLiberal
SoCalLiberal

I know Gensler designs, I worked there for many years.  Some of the spaces look totally "Gensler" while others look like they were designed by someone from the year 1975, which is to  say, very "UN-Genslerish".  I'm just amazed at what kind of programming the architects and designers must have done to gather all the information to design the building.  Were they sworn to never crack a smile or to guffaw?  Damn, I wish I could have been on one of these projects.

violetcrown
violetcrown

those sound chambers scare me. Putting someone in a sound chamber is a very easy wasy to torture someone in a very short period of time. 

Marianna Perebenesiuk
Marianna Perebenesiuk

Well, what's striking me, and I've already seen such project plans to present to a client, what's striking me is that there are NO figurants. I mean normally they put lots of happy people in the buildings and around, enjoying their life, but they just make no representation of those who will be inside (except for the runners in the dark). Is it premonitory and nobody will ever use it? I hope so, cause there are lots of staff to torture people to insanity and/or death. 

Nn
Nn

They've copied every single page in the book of Fascist Architecture...

Gavin
Gavin

The fact it's all linked to Scientology aside, it looks pretty neat actually.

Obnoser
Obnoser

These renderings make me feel the same as other orgs I've been inside, including the Freewinds, Flag, AOLA, ASHO, LA Org, and ASHO EU: STERILE. NO ATMOSPHERE. While the kool-aid drinkers will tell you how "theta" an org feels, I say they all feel dead, sterile and lifeless. They need to take some lessons from the new age people, the Japanese, or feng shui. The Super Power renderings remind of RTC's beingness: cold, chrome steel. Yeah, like a knife or samurai sword? That's what you want to communicate? What happened to one of the most fundamental principles of Scn: ARC, Understanding, theta?

Fredric L. Rice
Fredric L. Rice

What utter insanity, these organized crime bosses know they have enough rubes, marks, and suckers to hand them money to build this lunacy all of which will remain empty under the crime syndicate folds and its crime bosses sell everything off reaping even more millions off the back of the loons that buy this insane shit. Love it!

Tory Christman
Tory Christman

Quuuuuuuuuuack!!! Thank God and the Net and ALLLLLLLLLLL the Critics I'm out of there and free from this insanity. As I told them back when I was "in" (On OT 7 no less---their second to the top level):::: *I* will NEVER do "Super Power". Why? Pay for AND spin around AND have to run around a pole? ahhhhhhhhhhhhh NO. Not *I*. Thank you. Love to Tony and VV. :)

Texas Land For Sale
Texas Land For Sale

Anyone who thinks of renting a bicycle or scooter should think twice. St. Maarten roads are often quite dangerous for anyone who isn't driving a car. Bicycle rentals do make sense for cruise visitors disembarking in Philipsburg if cycling is done within the city.

Texas Land For Sale
Texas Land For Sale

Cruise visitors, who mostly disembark in Philipsburg, capital of the Dutch side of the island, will have an easier time of it because the roads aren't as packed. They may want to rent a car to see Marigot, capital of the French side and a popular excursion destination. The trip is worth it for the beautiful harbor alone.

Texas Land For Sale
Texas Land For Sale

Another reason to rent a car is for the beaches, which are relatively few for this Caribbean paradise but scattered all over like the resorts and villas. The most famous and popular is the clothing-optional Orient Bay, which lies to the north of Philisburg.

Transcendant
Transcendant

On the subject of Hubbard returning, the cycle has a 21 year gap so the Hubbard Thetan will still be housed in a five year old's body.

He's not due to show himself for another few years; doubtless biding his time until he can be sure that young Miscavige can be taken care of. When he does return you can be sure that David Miscavige will.be put back in the kennel where he belongs.

Those two thetans have been battling it out since the start of time and before. The book of revelations in the Bible kinda reflects it. Hubbard is Jesus and David Miscavige is the anti-christ; the event pre-dates the implants on the whole track but influenced them.

Kinda sad cos Hubbard while being generally correct with his metaphors and teachings (and wildly misguided in certain parts) is still trapped with Miscavige and Miscavige with him. It's why the church of scientology has so many problems, it's so close and yet so far.

It always ends in tears; David Miscavige comes off worse I guess; like the Biblical anti-christ what fun he has is hollow and unfulfilling and he still gets what's coming to him, it's never quick.

Voicefromwithin
Voicefromwithin

Ceausescu meet Kim in Florida. Never the less Bravo to the Designers to pull of such a job post 2001, business is business. I would have loved being a fly at the brief, concept presentation and design process. It must have been fun."Shall we put in a tad of Avatar or rather Star Treck? What do you think they may go for? I guess God in person enjoys the view from his suites to play freely away from the public eye. I just wish they would all be thoroughly investigated. With so much $ it can't be a holy environment. It's all about celebs, gullibility & Hollywood.A friend dragged me once to visit a center in JHB South Africa and it was 6star and from there is was sheer hell to get rid of the follow up phone calls and and and. This is a mean machine in  MLM Region practices.

THE_ORIGINAL_STARCHY
THE_ORIGINAL_STARCHY

and its all TAX FREE!!!The people of Florida are subsidizing this boondoggle- all in the name of "religion".

enjoy you suckers!!

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Fascism. That is the word linked to the hubris of building these giant monuments that people neither need nor want... the madness of a single mind or a small group of people trying to force it's will upon the otherwise uninterested populace.

ChaosConsumer
ChaosConsumer

This is what you'd expect some funky internet company like reddit or google would build as their office to show how cool they are and how fun it is to work there. Of course, they'd be paying YOU money to be there.

Behold, Scientologists! This is where the charity donations/reggings that emptied your bank accounts went: A theme park for the rich and famous you will never, ever be allowed into. Not unless you're cleaning the smell wall and mopping up puke from the merry-go-round that is.

Leave the cult and I'll take you to Disney Land instead. At least a giant talking mouse and an angry duck with a speech impediment are half way plausible!

P_krenik
P_krenik

It is, without a doubt, a beautiful building.  But LRH didn't ever visualize machines as part of Scientology technology.  That is a lie perpetuated by the COS insiders.  He would have called that "mixing practices" and it would be a break of the Auditor's Code to use it.

wilfried handl
wilfried handl

The time machine in the article means only the datum when it should be done and has nothing to do with a machine to travel in time. It' only an administrative tool - the other "space tools" u will find in the super -power-rooms ... ;-)

OttoZ
OttoZ

Sure, you can laugh at Super Power, but what you gonna do when the Super *Duper* Power Building is built?, which will make possible the delivery of Super Duper Power. On the day when Super Duper Power is released, all you wogs won't be laughing anymore.

Tory Christman
Tory Christman

Make sure you check out pages 2, 3 and 4! "Well, who knows. Maybe my endocrine states could use a tuning".........just reading the list of perceptics made me thrilled, again, that I'm OUT OF SCIENTOLOGY, Forever! I have told you this before, I'll say it again: I told them back when I was fully "in": *I* will NEVER do Super Power. Why? You'd have to be a F*** idiot to PAY for AND DO something that makes you run around a POLE? That's part of Scientology's Slave Camp: "RPF". Really? Really? Shakes head: Thank Gawd I'm outtttta there.

Tory Christman
Tory Christman

A M A Z I N G......I've watched here in Los Angeles as these huge buildings are "renovated"....but seeing this REALLY puts into place what Debbie Cook (in her NY's E-mail) was speaking about. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much $$$ spent on buildings, fundraising (over doing it) and what was that third thing? Oh yeah! Out tech! Keep lookin :)

Tory Christman
Tory Christman

Good Gawd: Where IS My space Ship? Are you F*** serious? This is Super Power...finally released by Tony Ortega and the Village Voice? How appropriate! Scientology cannot: they have no public anymore. They've spent all their $$$ on these buildings and forget they're supposed to be used to "help people". Oh (doink!) Davey boy slaps head: "I ***Knew*** there was something missing!" Happy New Year to you all, and thanks to Tony and the amazing Village Voice! ROCK ON, one and ALL :)

Irvine Lancaster
Irvine Lancaster

We in RTC are watching the devious Psych intelligence operative Tony Ortega and the Venereal Voice. We are not happy that they would publish photos of Super Power.

We know that Ortega is in bed with Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and all of the rest of the big pharmaceutical manufacturers . If Tony and the Voice were not being paid $25,000 per day, none of this would ever find its way into the wog media. We understand only too well the perfidious Intelligence side of Ortega. He is not posting on the Church by accident or happenstance. If Tony thinks the Voice can match OSA Int in Intelligence he is plain wrong. Our budgets for PI's in just one week is more than the budget for most small countries.

These photos are an enormous invasion of our privacy. We do not publish photos of the inside of the Voice's offices showing even the commode of its executives. Not that would want to see the urine spattered floors and vomit-caked sinks of the executive washroom at the Voice but you get the point. 

Now that the photos have been published the world can at least see that yes, the Church of Scientology is spending parishioner money on super fantastic facilities that are resplendent with natural wood finishes, tasteful contours and hundreds of hidden cameras. No one has any ideas of how many angles we can film Scientologists from! Just let the bastards just try to sue and we will have video of them EP'ing from every angle. No jury could gainsay the TA action as they watched the video. To say we have our new Thetaopolis wired is an understatement!

We in RTC emphatically deny that the two of the early Super Power completions committed suicide.

We in RTC categorically deny that another Super Power completion had a mental breakdown after completion.

Finally, we in RTC will neither confirm nor deny that the wealthy finance guy who paid $1,000,000 for his Super Power Rundown at Int Base did not display any Super Power abilities but instead suffered a reversal of fortune that left him impoverished and in bad repute.

MrElronious
MrElronious

This totaly reminds me of the  implant station we first arrived at when we landed here on Teegeack some 75 million years ago. Wow good times, good times.

grundoon
grundoon

Can someone explain the logos on the wall of the 7th floor board room?

DeckardCain
DeckardCain

This looks exactly like the "MindHead" cult headquarters from the movie Bowfinger.  Steve Martin is a genius.

Stat
Stat

I think my nostrils has superpowers now.I would like to attest.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Has anybody else notice MarkStark hasn't been posting? That's not like him.

sizzle8
sizzle8

The leaker's name is Forrest Gump and, boy, is he doing his own version of the Running Program!

Stan D'Teque
Stan D'Teque

Love this leak, Tony - but beware the bite from the "Pope."

You've committed a Cardinal Sin against $cientology this time - shown the world that Wee Davey has His own private bathroom. 

Those who sit on the Right Hand of God DO NOT NEED TO DEFECATE !!!!!!

I'm sure the cancerous little gnome is foaming at the mouth right now demanding the "traitor" who leaked these to you be assigned to the "Running Program" for the rest of their Sea Org billion-year contract.

Exposing His private suite is probably all He'll be upset about - the rest shows how important He is and is probably counted as "inches of theta press" for the week.

Does this make $cilontology upstat this week?

Roggy McGee
Roggy McGee

Those food choices are so odd!  At first I thought that those foods must have been selected because they were LRH's favorites.  But then I figured that if the Smell Wall was supposed to exhibit scents significant to LRH, it would only emit cigarette smoke and flatulence.

Sandy4077
Sandy4077

In looking at these images, one could be excused for thinking that Albert Speer was the designer.   The building kind of has that neo-fascist (or maybe Nazi-chic?) vibe to it.  Appropriate, I guess.

MassMom
MassMom

Who is DM building these "churches" for? They look like high end spas and resorts. The way he's spent money contributed by followers is criminal! If the followers don't see that, then I say let them continue to be abused and cheated. The rest of us should ignore them...except for the tax-exemption. Go after CoS for that!!!

What a bunch of fools to allow contributions to be spent on opulence rather than helping mankind "move up the bridge". It's a crime.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

That running room looks like something from "Logan's Run" or "THX-1138"....in fact all the interiors look like knockoffs of sci-fi fims or TV shows; the hallways have that Star Wars/Star Trek look, the various scanners look like they came from "A.I" or "Minority Report" or the Cylon ship in the new "Battlestar Galactica" - and the bits that aren't from THE FUTURE look like they came from the Earthbound scenes in "Starship Troopers"; the Sea Org canteen looks like a set from that movie.

I can see now why actors and actresses are attracted to Scientology; the primo buildings look like movie sets.

(BTW, all the interiors for the proposed Ideal Org in San Diego look like kludgier versions of these rendered drawings; we'll get a lot more wood, less fancy windows. No exteriors have ever been released, so I'm guessing it will look like a hypermodern car dealership.)

Django
Django

Gotta admit, some of it looks pretty geek-chic cool. I'm guessing that these pix were leaked from official CoS photos, and that they're pretty heavily shooped, and that most of this crap is flimsy plastic.....errrr.....crap. But hey, when Scientology collapses, when this stuff is all sold for pennies on the dollar, I'll buy a piece and hang it in the Rec Room. I'll consider it a trophy.

Tick Tock, Tiny Davey.....

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

They are running out of stuff to charge people for, so they came up with this combination auditing building/resort/X-Men training center and HUBBARD BE DAMNED if it contradicts the Auditor's Code. Everything Miscavage has done, he has done to undercut Hubbard's original plans and ideas in the name of more money. He is killing the "church" for money, and he has almost completely succeeded.

Thetan-X
Thetan-X

Hi Wilfred, please explain if you will. Why do Scientologists refer to "data" as "datum" They mean precisely the same thing . Did the word "datum" hold some special meaning to the Comode door L Ron ? Thank you and i look forward to your reply .

MissCabbage
MissCabbage

Can I go back and buy some Apple stock?

How 'bout Google?

ChaosConsumer
ChaosConsumer

That's where you're wrong. Construction of the Hall of Villains for the Legion of Marcab has already begun. It'll be just like the old cartoon, except Scientology's Super Friends will all be more like Aquaman and less like Super man.Maybe the different run downs they excel at will give them specific superpowers. Soon anon will have to do battle with Smell Man and Captain Oily!

MrElronious
MrElronious

the two i see are the  The "new-era" Scientology symbol is an "S" curving through two triangles. The "S" stands for Scientology. The top triangle represents a set of Scientology factors — knowledge, responsibility and control. Collectively the first three factors make up the KRC triangle. The lower triangle consists of the ARC triangle of affinity, reality and communication and the The stripes of this symbol represent green for growth, and yellow for life. The four green stripes recall the four divisions of a human's urge to survive which are revealed in Dienetics The triangle is also reminiscent of the volcano present on post-1968 editions of the book Dianetics and in advertising for Dianetics since that time.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Google the Running Program.   Most interesting details are what Hubbard said that it is an "OT Process", and his private writings on the theory of the Running Program include that this is a crude human form of an OT process used zillions of years ago on pure souls, where it was found therapeutic therapy on pure souls to have them do mega big circle flightpaths in outer space.  

There is a whole huge amount of "case" we as spiritual beings supposedly have, that only will be addressed when we move all the way UP to the top of Hubbard's Bridge to Total Freedom, and then do the really top of the line soul powers for pure souls, which of course, comes long long up the line.   For now, this Running Program is a baby OT process for us mere mortals with bodies!

Hubbard's soul theory writings deserve some collection and review.   There's so much he's said.

But that the movement focuses on this building, for this rundown, is a huge manifestation of the Hubbard religion, inevitably, and it deserves a whole book and many chapters.

Synthia Elizabeth Fagen
Synthia Elizabeth Fagen

Most of it is just cgi fly throughs, like most of the stuff they show to parishioners to fool them into thinking the buildings are done. People get confused because a lot of it looks fairly real but it's all in their heads and pixels on a computer screen. It pulls in millions of dollars and it's mostly BS.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

But all that only works if you believe in Scientology, and I don't. The idea of souls running through the Cosmos comes from the Upanishads - I've seen Hari Krisha paintings of the Universe in human form running. I agree that Hubbard's "soul theory" needs to be examined, if only to see where he got some of his ideas from.

As for the Running Program itself, I know it to be a dangerious form of punishment, especially out in the hot Hemet sun. I heard the Zegel tapes; people were losing minerals from their bodies in sweat and it wasn't being replenished. Miscavage was lucky nobody died.

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