Jason John Paul Haskins (B.S.A.S. 2004, M.Arch 2010), Locus Iste
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, 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.
More information, future updates, and advocacy opportunities are available at savesaintmartins.org. You can also show your support by contributing to the Facebook group at facebook.com/savestmartins.
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. in 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 19-20th 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.