Designing In God’s Name: Architect Carlton Strong

By Kathleen M. Washy, Gathered Fragments 2016

Sacred Heart Sketch from _A Sermon in Sculptured Stone_
“Take a box of Mother Sills Sea-sick Remedy, which you can get in New York, in case you need it,” advised architect Carlton Strong in his 1925 article “Upon Going Abroad.” Having recently returned from a 10,000 mile tour of five European countries, he wrote this article in order to encourage “real students of Architecture” to visit Europe. Providing practical counsel to these “students”, Strong gave advice on everything from booking passage on a steamer to doing laundry while overseas. Brimming full of born enthusiasm from his recent travels abroad, he had to curtail his article as “the space at the disposal of the Editor limits [his] song.”

At the time, Strong was working on the design of Sacred Heart Church in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood. With the intent to study the “world’s finest church edifices,” Strong had travelled to  Europe the previous fall in the company of Father Thomas Coakley, George Sotter, Patrick F. Gallagher, and Michael F. McNulty – Sacred Heart’s pastor, stained glass designer, general contractor, and church committee member. Together, these five men were the public face of the planning for a new church but out of all of them, it was the architect, Carlton Strong, with the final vision as he reportedly had an entirely free hand in the design of the church. Considered a historic site today, Sacred Heart was the pinnacle of Strong’s career, which was formed from a lifetime of liturgical, ecclesiastical, and architectural studies.

You will find the rest of this article in the Fall 2016 edition of Gathered Fragments. To learn about how to order a copy, check out Gathered Fragments: Order.