Monday, January 11, 2010

Temple Baptisteries

My brother and I have been going to a lot of different temples to do baptisms for the dead recently. I want to discuss some of my feelings about their architecture.

Ogden, Provo, Jordan River and Logan have essentially the same design with a chapel overlooking the font and confirmation rooms on the left hand side. I think Ogden and Provo work best, probably due to the obvious addition of stone tile flooring, light wallpaper, geometric ceiling designs and in the case of Provo small crystal chandeliers and sconces in the confirmation rooms. Jordan River has a lot of potential, although it is a bit dark due to off-white wallpaper and dark woodwork which I think could be redone while preserving the original architecture. Also, the confirmation rooms are cramped and feel like closets which isn't very fitting for a room set apart for an important ordinance. As for Logan, the baptistery has natural light but is essentially a clone of the other temples, including the font. I think this is a shame as we have the original temple font in the Church Museum of History and Art so I don't know why it isn't placed in the temple.

The Bountiful and Mount Timpanogos temples both have nice baptisteries. I prefer Bountiful but that is due to my tastes. I like that in these baptisteries there are two semicircular rows of pews on top of the oxen immediately next to the font.

The Salt Lake Temple baptistery has a wonderful font. The confirmation rooms are small and out of the way which is a downside. Also the entrance is hidden and the tunnels leading into the baptistery have a 60s or 70s feel. Still, I like this baptistery.

Utah's two newest temples, Draper and Oquirrh Mountain have wonderful baptisteries. Draper has stained glass behind the font letting light flood in. The confirmation rooms have glass doors making the rooms for this ordinance seem important and not an afterthought. Oquirrh Mountian has the best baptistery as a whole in my opinion. There the chapel has glass on all 4 sides. The front overlooks the font (with glass on 3 sides) and behind are the confirmation rooms with glass doors and wall. This allows the confirmations to be seen from the font and chapel and definitely makes the rooms for this ordinance important.

In general I liked tiled baptisteries better than carpeted ones because carpet (especially in locker rooms) tends to mildew causing a bad smell.

I love the variety in temple baptismal fonts listed here and others I have seen and hope to see many more.


Travis Brinton said...

The Washington, DC, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, and Seattle baptistries also follow the same pattern as Provo, Ogden, Jordan River, etc.

Cardston and Oakland have virtually identical baptistries (which is strange considering they were built about 40 years apart), as do Bern, London, Idaho Falls, and Hamilton.

Some design differences that might be interesting to explore are those that have one entrance to the "bowl" part of the font (i.e., Provo) versus those that have two (i.e., Nauvoo); those that only have the forequarters of the oxen (most temples) versus those that have the full bodies (i.e., Salt Lake; San Diego); and also those that originally had no oxen but were later remodeled to include them (Santiago, Freiberg, and most Polynesian temples).

Scott said...

I'm guessing that the Oakland Temple font is a replica of the Cardston Temple font if they are nearly identical, but I haven't seen Oakland's font.
I should write a post about fonts. Recently I've been busy with work and have neglected this site a bit. My work does structural engineering for some temples, unfortunately I'm not allowed to discuss our current projects, but I can say that I like the new designs I'm seeing that aren't public yet.

Brett said...

The Sydney Temple has only one confirmation room which is incredibly tiny and not a very nice room at all.

Don said...

Travis, the Idaho Falls baptismal font isn't AT ALL like those in Switzerland, London and New Zealand. It's a completely different design, of brushed stainless steel or aluminum, with rather stylized oxen. It's surely the most modern-looking baptismal font in the whole church.

Anonymous said...

The reason the Oakland font is so similar to the Cardston font is that hey were both designed by the same architect, Harold Burton. He did Cardston at the beginning of his career and Oakland at the end. He also designed the Laie Hawaii Temple. The similarities between Oakland and Cardston include the fonts are each surrounded by 16 columns. The fonts are both octagonal shaped, with octagonal steps leading down to the oxen. The casts for the oxen, the foliage, and ornamental surrounding are exact replicas of each other. In Cardston the foliage is painted white, but in Oakland the foliage is painting green and the flowers are pink. In Oakland the oxen were originally covered with gold leaf, but were later painted a sort of off-white color.

Scott said...

That is a lot of interesting history. Thanks for sharing.