Steuart Goodwin Pipe Organs
Tonal Finishing Organ Case Designs Small Pipe Organs
|This sketch was sent to me by FAX shortly after I was brought on board to work on the Schoenstein organ. It is the initial concept sketched by Bill Williams of Zimmer Gonzul Frasca, the architects of the Salt Lake LDS Confrence Center building. The church authorities had specified a symetrical design with two large towers rather than one central tower. They were hoping to relate the design to the appearance of the pioneer-built case facade of the Mormon Tabernacle organ half a block away.|
|I presented this sketch at a meeting of the architects and consultants who were working on details of the design and appearance of the front platform area of the auditorium. The initial concept shows a ninety foot wide pipe backdrop across the entire choir seating area. I recommended eliminating the fifteen foot sections on either end. They would have been only decorative and had to be removable. I also felt that the design ought to include both large and smaller pipes with as many actual speaking pipes as possible. I chose to use string toned pipes in the largest towers, feeling that their slimness would help create a sense of verticality to counteract the extreme width of the design.|
|Scott Bleak of the church's architecture department produced numerous computer drawings. In this one the idea of curving the top line of the flats has been introduced. Also, the paneling below the flats has become higher to form a background to the choir when they are standing.|
|Toward the end of the design process Lee Gray, head of the church's architecture department, drew this sketch showing a massive arch across the top of the case.|
|I proposed that the arch could be slimmed down and given an acoustical function by curving the underside to reflect sound into the room. I also saw the opportunity to place some of the largest 32' pipes in a second row facade with their tops visible in the window-like spaces created by the arch. Then I eliminated the vestigial crowns and pipe shades allowing the tower pipes to be seen full length. Paul Fetzer, of Fetzer Inc., the architectural woodwork firm who contructed the casework, produced this drawing incorporating my suggestions.|
|Here is an April, 2001 photograph by Edward Ballantyne showing the completed organ case with the television lighting on. The work lights inside the organ appear to be on which creates the white patches.|
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Conference Center main auditorium
I took this picture the day of the first public
event in the new building in April, 2000. Workmen were still
installing chairs and cleaning up the building. Three hours later
some 20,000 guests arrived to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
while technicians tested and adjusted the sound system.
There were some initial parameters to work from. First, the new organ should bear enough relationship to the appearance of the Tabernacle organ that people would feel a comfortable sense of familiarity. Second, it should be a symmetrical design, wide enough to form a backdrop behind the wide choir seating area. The design needed to hit a balance between traditional and modern elements, and should have some sense of depth since it was to be viewed from an unusual distance. The pipes were to be gold in color, reduced in gloss to avoid glare from the intense lighting used for television.
The case is essentially a collaboration with four main design contributors: Bill Williams of the architectural firm Zimmer, Gunzul, Fraska in Seattle, who provided initial concept sketches; Lee Gray, head of the architectural offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Paul Fetzer, vice president of Fetzers', Inc., the architectural woodwork company who built the case; and Steuart Goodwin, representing Schoenstien & Co.
This photo was taken by my tonal finishing assistant,
Wendell Ballantyne, during the 2000 Christmas program with choir and
orchestra. Notice how the extensive theatrical lighting in the
Conference Center can alter the apparent color of the facade pipes from
gold to silver.
I provided the layout of all the pipes in the facade,
plus the dimensions of the flats and towers, and contributed the idea of a two layer facade. I felt that pipes of various lengths should be used rather than a "fence" of long pipes of similar length. Some of the smaller pipes needed to be at the bottom near the choir to make a transition from the monumental overall scale to human scale. I wanted the pipes to vary in length in ways related to the natural lengths which produce the musical scale, and I worked out foot lengths to form curves and lines which compliment those in the woodwork. To partially counteract the extra width of this case I used narrow scaled pipes in the front and kept the 32' Diapason in the second row where only the tops of its large diameter pipes can be seen.