By Paul Carter
Unique LDS Architecture Exhibited at BYU
PROVO, UTAH -- "Mormon Moderne: New Directions in Latter-day Saint
Architecture, 1890-1955" is the current exhibit of the Brigham Young
University Museum of Art. It will run through the Spring of 2002 and
showcases architectural features such as windows, woodwork and
stonework, along with photographs and drawings that present the
multiple architectural styles incorporated in LDS church buildings of
the first half of the 20th century.
While most church members easily recognize the standard designs of
church buildings of the 1960s and later, this exhibit portrays very
unique constructions from an earlier time when LDS congregations
contracted with individual architect firms to build meetinghouses.
Church architects in Salt Lake City also included in general church
buildings (such as temples constructed during this time) many ideas
from contemporary architectural styles and design trends. In all,
about 200 buildings with their design elements are presented in the
"There is a much richer architectural heritage in Mormonism than most
people realize," says Paul L. Anderson of BYU and curator of the
exhibit. "People tend to think of Mormon architecture as sort of
predictable and standardized. At the first half of the last century,
it was far from that."
The exhibit includes examples of Art Deco, International Style, the
Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as structural
embellishments such as Romanesque archways, Baroque gables and
stained-glass windows in Gothic style.
Comments Mr. Anderson, "You don't expect to find an important early
example of Frank Lloyd Wright design in Parowan, Utah, or in
Montpelier, Idaho. But they're there. The architects were quite aware
of the design movements going on around the country and were trying
to apply the best architectural ideas to Mormon buildings."
Exhibit-goers will find Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie Style influence
in the Cardston Alberta Temple, built in 1912, as well as some of the
tabernacles built into the 1920s. Art Deco patterns are evident in
the Idaho Falls Temple built in 1937 and the Spanish Colonial styles
have been incorporated in meetinghouses of LDS congregations in
Arizona and California.
The years presented in the exhibit have come to be referred to as the
"Golden Age of Mormon architecture. "We're documenting this part of
our culture," says Anderson. "But its interest goes beyond the Mormon
community. Together [these buildings] tell a story of how Utah
changed from being an isolated place cut off from society to becoming
completely integrated into American life."
Exhibit Celebrates Diverse LDS Architecture
Salt Lake Tribune 22Apr01 A1
By Brandon Griggs: Salt Lake Tribune