St. Martin's Episcopal Church
Houston, Texas

As Liturgical Design Consultant for this new church in Houston, we designed all the liturgical furnishings including the carved limestone altar table and baptismal font, the large Gothic choir screen, pulpit, lectern, aumbry, communion rails, clergy stalls, pavement lights, carved gold leaf cross, altar and office lights and the organ case for the 80 rank Schoenstein pipe organ.  The wood used is quarter sawn white oak with traditional Gothic tracery and detailing. 

The choir screen for St. Martin’s is derived, in form, from the ancient Gothic screens which set off the “Choir” (the seating area for the resident monastic community) of a large cathedral or abbey from the more secular parts of the space.  At St. Martin’s the screen has been used in a dual role:  first, to visually buffer the “choir” (of singers) while allowing them to be placed with the organ along the central axis of the building projecting from one end directly down the nave, but being open enough to be acoustically transparent; and secondly, to provide an ornamental screen as a setting for the altar and to give the altar more of a human scale in a very large space.   

The monumental organ case of St. Martin’s Schoenstein organ which covers the lower two-thirds of the “east” wall beneath the rose window consists of a simplified lower section with three large vertical projecting towers topped with elaborate “crowns” composed of single foliated ogee arches.  These elements are planned to carry the richness of the choir screen into the upper parts of the organ, which are seen beyond the choir screen, and to frame the bottom of the rose window. 

(Architect: Jackson & Ryan, Houston, Texas)

(Photographer: Mark Scheyer, Inc., Houston, Texas)

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