UTSOA Lecture on St Martin Lutheran, Austin

As part of ongoing efforts to advocate for the preservation of Saint Martin's Evangelical Lutheran Church (see the website savesaintmartins.org for more information), I will be giving a lecture as part of the University of Texas School of Architecture's Goldsmith Talks series. This church is by far the best example of non-residential mid-century architecture and holds a special place among the finest modern American churches. This lecture will be a modified version of the presentation I gave as part of the MidTexMod tour of the church back in the spring. It will include more on the influence of the church and the people associated with it on the history of the architecture and building arts community of Austin in the middle of the twentieth century.

UPDATE. A recording of the lecture is now available courtesy the UT School of Architecture. Watch the recording of the lecture by clicking the image below.

The Daily Texan, the University's newspaper, covered the event. You can also read their article here.

Here are the details on the event:


Join us for a lecture celebrating the historical significance and brilliant design of Saint Martin's Evangelical Lutheran Church. We will explore the context of modern religious architecture, the building's significance to Austin's architecture and art community, and the challenges of preservation of the recent past. The event is free and open to the public.

University of Texas School of Architecture
Goldsmith Talks
Austin’s Mid-century Masterpiece: Saving St Martin’s
by Jason John Paul Haskins, Locus Iste
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 — 5:00 PM
Goldsmith Auditorium, GOL 3.120 (map)

St Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Austin have announced that they are seeking a demolition permit for their iconic and beloved church building as one option under consideration for the future development of their downtown site. Completed in 1960 and designed by Jessen Jessen Millhouse and Greeven (later known as Jessen Associates), the church building stands out among the many excellent, if not well-known, mid-century Texas churches. Their design team included a number of UT professors and prominent Austin artists and professionals, including Charles Umlauf (sculptor), Charles Boner (acoustician), and Fortunat Wiegl (ironworker). Architect Robert George Mather led the design of the new sanctuary, and he brought a unique vision to the work that built upon his diverse experience. In addition, the church’s stained glass is one of only a handful of works in the United States by the prolific Dominikus and Gottfried Böhm, two of the most influential German church architects of the 20th century.

St Martin’s represents a crucial moment in the emergence of modern architecture in Texas. AIA Austin recognized the building with its 25 Year Award in 2007 calling the building “magnificent” and praising its “craft-like detailing, timeless quality, and reverent calmness.” The building remains a stellar and relevant example of the highest quality of architecture in Texas. Its preservation would represent a strong testament to the value of great design, to the need to sustain the inherited cultural capital of the built environment, and to the importance of creating beautiful places.


Jason John Paul Haskins, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a church-building researcher and design consultant who writes about liturgy, architecture, and history on the blog Locus Iste. He holds a B.S. Architectural Studies and an M.Arch from University of Texas and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Liturgy at the University of St Mary of the Lake (Mundelein Seminary). His research focuses on the architecture of the 19th & 20th century liturgical movements. In partnership with GO Collaborative, Jason has developed a participatory pre-design approach to strategic church planning for the built environment called Stewardship of Place.


"Goldsmith Talks" is an open-format series of presentations organized by UTSOA faculty, staff, and students. Goldsmith Talks aims to encourage and promote presentations that are outside of the scope of the main lecture series. Examples are: invited seminar presentations, book talks, lectures by designers and scholars who may be in Austin for another engagement, round-table discussions, film screenings, product demonstrations, or any other activity related to research, scholarship, and teaching activities and at the school. The format provides a platform for encouraging the dissemination of work by visitors and members of our community. The goal is to raise awareness, increase access, and better integrate such events within the public life of the school.