There was a time that each Church building, Meetinghouse, Stake Center and Temple was a unique structure, and, in many cases, very distinctive. For a while now, in order to save money, the Church has been using standard plans for its buildings. Caveat alert: Once you get outside of North America, all bets are off on building design. They seem to be more unique, even the newer ones.
What’s interesting is that the leveraging of designs has really been going on since the 1950s. Prior to that, each building was designed and built from the ground up. Looking at the Temples, one can see a similarity in each era of Temple building.
For example, the design of the Kirtland, Nauvoo and St. George Temples are similar, even if the interiors had a totally different configuration.
Similar Designs Examples
- Logan, Manti
- London, Hamilton, NZ, Bern, Los Angeles
- Ogden, Provo (For now)
- Tokyo, Seattle, Jordan River
- Sao Paulo, Atlanta, Santiago, Tonga, Samoa (original), Tahiti, Sydney, Denver
- Boise, Dallas, Chicago, Manila, Taipei, Guatemala City, Johannesburg, Stockholm, Seoul, Lima, Buenos Aries, Frankfurt
- Small Temple Designs
There, have of course, been some unique ones along the way:
Salt Lake, Oakland, Washington DC, Mexico City, San Diego, to name a few.
Meeting houses and Stake Centers
In the early days of the Church and in many parts of the world still, existing buildings were and are re-purposed for use as meetinghouses. In some cases, buildings are just rented for Sunday use. As the Church became established, starting in Utah and surrounding states, LDS Church buildings were built to match the specific use for the facility. Very ornate Tabernacles were the center of a Mormon town.
Here are a few examples:
Paris, ID , Provo , Box Elder (Brigham City) , Kaysville
As time moved on, standard designs began to become the norm. As far back as 1950s, many meetinghouses and Stake Centers were based on the same design, with an occasional unique one.
The 1990s brought the “California Plan,” a 42,000 sq foot 2-story building designed to hold an entire stake within it. There are two of everything, Chapels, Primary, Relief Society rooms. Eight bishops and clerks offices and a complete set of Stake offices. Most of the buildings were and are not fully utilized except for short periods of time while other buildings were renovated. Take it from my personal experience, you’ve never experienced this kind of organized chaos when you have four wards in the building at once, 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon.
So, what do you think? I’ve heard that they are even tearing down some of the older, unique buildings to put up more efficient, newer designs. Are we losing the character of our buildings by having the same designs? Or, is it easier to find a church building? I’ve always been able to spot our buildings by the spires out front.
Are you in a vintage building or a cookie cutter building? Which are your favorites?