Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Colorful Temple Exteriors

White has become so synonymous with the temple that we seem to forget the examples of temples that aren't white or any color remotely close to white.

The Kirtland Ohio Temple
Currently the Kirtland Ohio Temple is white (and not owned by the church).  Originally it had sparkling blue walls, a red roof, and green doors (the doors are still green).  Our first temple was clearly not white, but instead quite colorful.

The Logan Utah Temple
Today the Logan Temple is made of a dark brown stone.  Originally it was painted white (much like the St. George Utah Temple which is actually red sandstone stuccoed white).  The paint on the Logan Temple didn't weather very well and soon it looked horrible.  A decision was made to let the paint finish wearing off and to not repaint it.  This is how the temple is now with its dark brown walls.  The stone is really a nice color and contrasts nicely with the white towers (which are now fiberglass and not the original wood, if you wanted to know).  This also explains why the Logan Temple stones are somewhat rough cut and irregularly shaped blocks.  The builders thought the stones would always be covered.  Other temples such as Manti and Salt Lake have neatly arranged, fine cut, smoothed stone blocks because they were never intended to be painted.

The Vernal Utah Temple
The Vernal Temple is remodeled from the Uintah Stake Tabernacle which was made out of red brick.  Because of this the current temple is red.  White towers contrast nicely and add a touch of the familiar white usually symbolizing holiness. 

The Copenhagen Denmark Temple
The Copenhagen Temple is another temple remodeled from an existing building - this time a chapel.  The chapel was red brick, so the completed temple is also red brick and looks nice.  The red also makes details such as the front columns stand out.  I think this temple works, and the fact that it is red helps the temple's appearance in my opinion.

I find that the red is a wonderful symbol of the blood of Christ and the atonement in general.  All this red brick might also remind us that the first endowments were given in the upper floor of Joseph Smith's Red Brick Store in Nauvoo, Illinois before the Nauvoo Temple was completed.  Either way, I think that red is a wonderful color for a temple.

The Johannesburg South Africa Temple is made of brown brick which gives it a different look.

The last really colorful temple is the Newport Beach California Temple which is a nice pink color.  I like the look.  The color was a concession to neighbors that thought a white temple would have been too bright.  The temple is still really light colored, so I hesitate to list it with the above temples.  I suppose that the Albuquerque New Mexico Temple is also a pinkish hue.  There are other temples with slight shades of this color or that.  I don't need to list them all.  Most are kept really light, so the temples listed above are really the colorful ones.

Several other temples have dark accents.  The Fukuoka Japan Temple, for instance, has some dark stone.  The Snowflake Arizona Temple also has its first floor made out of darker stone than the lighter second floor.

That is the list of colorful temples (or temples that aren't white or light colored).  I don't think there are any others.  I like having temples white or light colors.  It is nice symbolism and is a nice look for these holy edifices.  Even so, there is something neat about these bolder temples with dark colors.  Maybe it is because they are so rare and unique.  Maybe it is because the white details on the temple seem so much brighter with darker details adding contrast.  There are probably many reasons.  I like how unique these temples are and wouldn't mind seeing a few more colorful or dark temples, even though I'd still prefer most temples to be light.

Please comment and let us know what you think.


Tolman said...

Where would you put gray ones, ie Salt Lake, Chicago, Boise, Cardston, etc, then? They're not exactly colorful, but they're also not light.

Scott said...

I deliberately left them out as they are still light for the most part. They do show variety, but I mainly wanted to highlight Logan, Vernal, and Copenhagen.

Brian said...

Ohh, I just remembered, Albuquerque Neew Mexico is pink (Possibly precast? It has a very EVEN Color) with Gray (Granite?) Foundations, and the lower half of Snowflake is very decidedly Dark brown.

Ammon said...

I've heard or read somewhere that at one point the Laie, Hawaii temple was painted green to match the surrounding vegetation of Hawaii. It was then changed back to White so that it would stand out and look even brighter against the green back-drop. I've always wondered what that would have looked like and if there is any confirmation of that or even a picture out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

The Laie temple was painted a pale green somewhere around 1955 but it wasn't well received. That temple is also constructed of reinforced concrete with lava rock aggregate and was among the earliest of concrete temples. There is a document available on google by Joseph H. Spurrier, an early convert and longtime temple worker about that temple, the prophecies that lead to it, and it's history. I really enjoyed reading your blog, lots of fascinating information.

Don said...

Scott, where does the information about colors on the Kirtland Temple come from?

Scott said...

They told me when I toured it.