14 April 2010

Places of Worship: 150 Years of Latter-day Saint Architecture

Richard Woolley Jackson compiled a great deal of research on LDS Meetinghouses and published the book ‘Places of Worship: 150 Years of Latter-day Saint Architecture.’ In the book, Jackson states that it is the first extensive history of Church architecture. He states,

I wrote this book out of my long professional involvement with the Church’s places of worship. I began my architectural experiences in 1937 working as a draftsman in the office of Fetzer and Fetzer, Architects, of Salt Lake City. Much of my work there was drawing plans for meetinghouses and other Church buildings. One of those other projects was the Idaho Falls Temple. My employer, John Fetzer, Sr., was on the board of temple architects commissioned for the work, and I was moved to that office for the two years prior to mid-1940. I left the office then to study at the University of California at Berkeley, where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1943. I passed the Utah state architectural licensing examination and was licensed as an architect in Utah in 1944 and subsequently in several other western states.

From 1947 to 1949 I was assistant to the Church supervising architect, Edward O. Anderson, and traveled extensively throughout the Mountain West, directing the design or remodeling of about four hundred meetinghouses. I had a private practice from 1949 to 1959 and a partnership with Richard G. Sharp from 1960 to 1961 and 1963 to 1969.

During those periods I designed about sixty meetinghouses. From 1961 to 1963 I was employed by the Church Building Committee and lived with my family in Naarden-Bussem, the Netherlands, during which time I directed local architects in the development of meetinghouses for the Church in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and the French-speaking portion of Switzerland. About sixty meetinghouses were started in design or constructed in those countries during that period. After that interval I returned to my partnership practice. From early 1969 through mid-1985, I was an architect on the staff of the Church Building Division, with special responsibility for its older meetinghouses. I was also the Division’s liaison when its services were needed by other Church departments, including the Historical Department relating to historic buildings. In performing those tasks, I obtained records and data on as many meetinghouses as possible.

Little exists in print on general Church architecture, with the exception of a few books on temples and various papers on specific architectural topics related to styles or periods. Ward, stake, community, and family historians in search of information about buildings have no readily available sources and no way of appraising what information they find (local newspapers, diaries, personal memories) in the context of the broader pattern of Church construction. I have written this book in nontechnical language for the lay person, but it has been my goal that it be based on sound architectural information and solid historical research.

(excerpts taken from Introduction)


Jay S said...

I would love to purchase this, but the book seems out of print. Any idea as to booksellers who carry it?

I know a pdf version is available
at the Religious studies center (hesitant to post a link).

green mormon architect said...

I think you're right that it is out of print. I fortunately have a print copy obtained back when it was published. And I also have seen the pdf version. I don't know anyone who has the book, but you could try Sam Weller's in Salt Lake. They have a great selection of obscure LDS books.

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