Monday, August 4, 2014

The Newly Remodeled Ogden Temple - Part III

I have already written two posts about the newly remodeled Ogden Temple.  I'd like to give some more thoughts on this remodeled temple.

The remodeled temple is substantially nicer than the original temple.  The original building was built in a time of austerity for the church and while it was an offering to the LORD and a temple, it wasn't as nice as many others.  Frankly, it looked odd.  With time and close inspection I came to appreciate it, but I like that they completely remodeled it.  The remodel has changed the appearance of the Ogden Temple and it has also upgraded its quality in a way that wasn't practical during the original construction in the 1970s.  According to press releases and news reports, the temple has also been structurally upgraded to withstand earthquakes, had mechanical upgrades to increase energy efficiency, and has had significant upgrades to the temple grounds including underground parking and a remodel of the Ogden Tabernacle on the block.  I hope you can understand that the remodel of the Ogden Temple was more than just to make it more aesthetically pleasing (although it definitely has).  The upgrades made the building more efficient and safer and were necessary at some point.

The results of the temple remodel are spectacular.  I am just going to focus on the ordinance spaces here, but I did go into some more specific details in my previous posts.

Ogden Temple Baptismal Font
The baptistery is still laid out essentially as it was originally and is in the same location in the temple.  The main changes here are upgrading the wall coverings, carpet, lights, etc. and the addition of murals.  A baptistery chapel overlooks the font room with a glass wall between just as in the original temple (and others such as the Jordan River Utah Temple).  The font room has 3 original murals.  The side murals are of a river making it almost as if you are in the middle of a river while you are being baptized for the dead.  This river mural looks like it is probably the Ogden River or perhaps the Weber River.  On the front wall of the baptistery there is an interesting new mural of the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist.  I really like how the baptistery has been upgraded.   The lights in the baptistery are fairly simple, but really nice cylindrical chandeliers.  More on this later.  The confirmation rooms are still on the side of the baptistery chapel and appear to have been nicely redecorated.

Ogden Temple Ordinance Room
The endowment rooms are still laid out essentially as they were in the original temple.  There are six ordinance rooms on the top level with 3 on each side of the central celestial room.  I understand that you still spend all of your time in one ordinance room and then go into the celestial room.  The four ordinance rooms that are in the corners don't have exterior windows but they do have back-lit stained glass windows near the tops of the walls and along their ceilings.  The other two ordinance rooms are slightly larger and have stained glass also along the entire back walls which bring in a lot if natural light.  The altars are a pleasing mix of stone and wood with a design carved into the wood.  This same design is carved into the woodwork at the ends of each row of seats which nicely ties the altar to those seated.  This design is also carved into the columns on the walls and was on the original Ogden Temple.  You can read more in my first post.  Finally, the lights in the endowment rooms are really interesting.  They are cylindrical but they have a lot of interesting glass almost in petals.  They are more ornate versions of the baptistery chandeliers which is a great way to show progression in the temple.  I really like these endowment rooms.

Ogden Temple Celestial Room
The celestial room is still in the same location it was in the original temple at the center of the top floor.  Just as in the original temple there is a dome in its center only now it has been upgraded to an art glass dome that matches the stained glass on the walls.  Instead of having a central chandelier, the architects have placed four stunning chandeliers in the room.  These are very interesting art deco styled chandeliers with upper and lower crystals and I assume brass.  The chandeliers have a cylindrical profile and thus are similar to the baptistery and ordinance room chandeliers but more ornate.  I love them.  I also like the torchieres which are essentially chandeliers coming up from the ground or chandelier lamps.  You can read more about these in my previous posts.  There are also really nice hand carved stone pilasters with ornate capitals that I love as I discussed in my previous posts.  The furniture in the celestial room is really nice including a nicely carved table that has been custom made to match designs elsewhere in the temple.  I think some of the furnishings on the tables are from the original temple, although I am not certain about that.  I don't recall seeing any mirrors in the celestial room, which is unique.  I am fine with not having mirrors there.

Ogden Temple Sealing Room
The sealing rooms are on the second level as they were in the temple before it was remodeled. The arrangement of the sealing rooms has changed.  Several of the sealing rooms are on the outside of the temple with stained glass windows bringing plenty of light into the rooms.  The sealing rooms were originally fairly plain, but have been redone in a grand style complete with hand carved stone pilasters, stone altars, carved carpets, and extravagant gold leaf patterns.  The desert rose pattern is used throughout the temple and it works really nicely in the sealing rooms where it works as the symbol of love for those getting married.  The sealing room chandeliers are really exceptional.  They are more elaborate versions of those found in the celestial room.  Here four side clusters of crystal lights have been added.  I love these lights and I love how they symbolically show progression from room to room in the temple.  I love these sealing rooms.  They are some of my favorite ever.  Even the really small rooms that don't have windows are stunning.

As you can see, I love the newly remodeled Ogden Temple.  While the upgrades have significantly strengthened and improved the building from a practical standpoint, they have also improved it aesthetically and architecturally and brought it up to the standard of our finest temples.

I have a little more to write.  I think I will take a break for a few days and then write about the renovation of the temple block.

15 comments:

Brian said...

Your Comment about mirrors in the celestial room caused me to do some research and thinking back. Many of the second generation small temples (Think Sacramento and Newport) have windows on 3 sides, since 3 sides of the Celestial Room are exterior walls. But Calgary has the Celestial Room in the middle of the temple, under the spire, and rather than do mirrors they did stained glass dividing the Celestial Room and the Hallway, with no mirrors.

I had not caught this before. I don't think Boise Celestial Room has mirrors either. Thanks for pointing it out!

Laura said...

I love the symbolism in the baptistry! And those sealing rooms are so lovely.

Paul W said...

So the endowment rooms with external windows...how do they darken them while the film is playing?

Paul W said...

Oh, also I don't see any projection area in the endowment room photo...where to they project the film?

Brian J said...

Paul - if the ordinance rooms are two stage progressive, there is no projection in the second room so no need for a screen. But if it is. Progressive layout the lack of pictures of the first instruction room is a glaring oversight.

Paul W said...

The six endowment rooms are stationary as before with the Celestial Room in between. In an endowment room, the curtain covers a movable wall that has about a 5-foot wainscot of marble on the bottom with a movie screen above that. After the movie finishes, the curtain closes and the wall moves up about 8 feet so that only the marble wainscot is visible—now at the ceiling instead of the floor—allowing the veil to be revealed behind it. The three rooms on each side use the entire veil, which stretches from one end of the building to the other. The two center rooms have a slightly larger capacity than the four corner rooms, but the overall seating is about the same as before.

Anonymous said...

Here are some photos of the original interior of the Ogden Temple:
http://www.oocities.org/athens/parthenon/4909/ogden.html

It looks to me as if an entirely different font was installed.

Here too is an interesting post on the temple remodel from someone who restores art work for the Church:
http://mormonartconservation.org/murals/mural-reinstalled-in-ogden/

David said...

First of all, these have been fantastically descriptive posts about the remodel of the temple. I was initially horrified when the church announced they would essentially be tearing down part of our architectural heritage. Having visited the new temple, however, I have been won over (let's just hope they never touch Provo).

Various people, including on your blog, have been referring to the details as Art Deco. I don't mean to be picky, but I'm not so sure you could call it that. I have been on the tour and really got up close to some of those details, and the closest mainstream architectural style I could associate them with is the Viennese Secession - small, finicky details, with a mixture of geometric and fluid shapes, plus variations on pure classical proportions and detailing. However, very few temples fall into any architectural style that could be called mainstream, eg, the Salt Lake temple is a mixture of Gothic, Norman and Victorian influences. Some temples manage to bring these various influences together into an harmonious whole, many do not.

One of the very nice features of the Ogden Temple is that the designs and motifs translate from the interior to the exterior and vice-versa. One of the disappointments of the Draper Temple is that the exterior is quite austere and beautifully simple, yet the interior is dripping with trims and classical details that don't fit (this is by no means the only example). So well done Ogden!

Bingham Family said...

Two symbols that I am surprised you did not mention are the brass used and the math symbol set equals subset that are both repeated throughout the temple. Anyone observe these and have insight into their meanings?

Don said...

David, they already HAVE touched the Provo Temple, whose gold spire, symbolic of a pillar of fire, has been painted over in white and turned into something like a wedding cake topper. I'm still sad it happened, and hope the original appearance and symbolism will someday be restored.

David said...

The Ogden Temple was the first Temple I set foot in when I attended the open house as a young boy. I also attended the Provo Temple many times while in the MTC and have been to the Jordon River Temple which has a similar interior design.

Personally I liked the unique old architecture of the Ogden Temple better than the new. It was simple yet so symbolically beautiful. The new architecture is too busy for my tastes and makes it look like so many of the other Temples.

The interior was also simple yet beautiful. You always knew where you were inside the Temple because the outside windows provided an ever present reference. As I attended the open house for the remodeled Temple I tried to keep track of where I was but usually could not.

I too was sad when the gold spires of both Ogden and Provo Temples were painted white and Angel Moroni statues were added eliminating some of the beautiful symbolism.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy this site. Thank you for the information and interesting insights.
This question is off topic so I apologize.
Would you have any idea why the church used Roman Catholic architects (project architect and interior design architect) for the San Diego Temple?
Thank you.

JJ

L. Chris Jones said...

Are you going to make any more updates on this blog? It has been over a year.

Gideon Hill said...

Scott: hoping you are going to revive this blog at least long enough to offer your extremely interesting insights on the Provo City Center Temple.

L. Chris Jones said...

I wish there were more updates here. I miss them.