By Sarah Stancliff
Renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright may not have designed any of the LDS temples or meetinghouse structures, but his influence can be seen in many of them.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built more than a thousand buildings during the first half of the twentieth centuries, comprising a diverse array of architectural designs and styles.
Architecture has always been important to The Church of Jesus Christ, with plans for places of worship commissioned by the prophets and other high authorities.
The BYU Museum of Art has dedicated a year-long exhibit to the portrayal of LDS Architecture throughout the years of the late 19th and 20th centuries.
The French word Moderne (moh DARE-n) is used to describe a wide range of modern architectural approaches, and according to the Museum of Art newsletter, “aptly describes the exquisite designs” showcased in the exhibit Mormon Moderne.
“The architectural exhibit is a really interesting look into the way the church”s buildings have evolved with the times,” said Rosemarie Howard, a member of the Utah Arts Council.
Located on the lower level of the museum, the first glimpse of the exhibit is the Wall of American Architecture and Latter-day Saints. This shows the connection between world-wide events, leadership, and monumental structures in comparison to the developments in LDS culture and architecture.
The wall shows that the 40-year construction process of the Salt Lake City Temple was completed just four years after the completion of the Eiffel Tower. Elaborate late-Victorian interiors and Byzantine style annex building demonstrate changes in architectural tastes in the church.
The timeline shows major achievements and milestones in the church”s building styles and history.
In 1902 the Wellsville Tabernacle, said to be one of the largest and most impressive LDS buildings in the early 20th century, was created in Gothic Revival Style.
1913 brought the Alberta Temple, which showed influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, and marked the first of three temples designed without towers.
The Maeser Building, the first built on the BYU”s upper campus, was patterned in heavy “Beaux Arts” classical style.
The Idaho Falls Temple, completed in 1937, has a top that resembles the many New York Skyscrapers being built at that time.
The wall is the beginning of a winding corridor of original architectural drawings, historic and contemporary photographs, stonework, art-glass windows, and woodwork from historic buildings.
Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the Church, officially opened the exhibit in March, said the exhibit was a “reflection of the sacrifices that have gone into each of these buildings.”
The exhibit is free and runs through June 15, 2002.