The Salt Lake Tabernacle is one of the most recognizable religious buildings in the United States. At the time of construction, in 1867, the Tabernacle was an engineering marvel. American architectural icon Frank Lloyd Wright said, "the Tabernacle is one of the masterpieces of American architecture, if not of the world." The unique design and remarkable acoustics of the Salt Lake Tabernacle have held the public's interest for well over 100 years. Before the Tabernacle closed in 2005, President Hinckley said, "Buildings, like men, get old. They don't last forever unless you look after them. I respect this building. I love this building. I honor this building. I want it preserved." With this in mind, the work of the original engineer, John Grow, and his fellow pioneers has been reinforced, but otherwise remains unchanged.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to undergo renovation of the Tabernacle after completing seismic computer models that showed how the building would fare during a major earthquake. Although the test showed that the original engineering was sound, it revealed that the building would fare better with structural upgrades. As part of the structural upgrades each of the 44 piers of the Tabernacle was reinforced with steel reinforcing bars, and the foundation of each of the piers was reinforced with concrete.
Since the Tabernacle remained closed during the upgrades, the design team used the opportunity to upgrade other areas of the building including new stairways, ceiling repaired and the, new plumbing and electrical systems were installed throughout the building, as well as new lighting and audio equipment. Organ pipes received new gold leafing, and a special orchestra staging area was added along with new choir offices and a new music library.
The Tabernacle project has received recognition from across the world on the seismic upgrades and overall renovations that have maintained the tabernacles one-of-a-kind historic resonance. Utah Heritage Foundation is pleased to recognize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their outstanding work on the Salt Lake Tabernacle.