Edward Sövik

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Edward Anders Sövik
Born(1918-06-09)9 June 1918
Henan, China
Died4 May 2014(2014-05-04) (aged 95)
NationalityUnited States of America
Other namesEdward Sovik
Alma materSt. Olaf College, Luther Seminary, Yale University
AwardsFellow of the American Institute of Architects

Edward Anders Sövik, also Sovik, (June 9, 1918 - May 4, 2014) was an American architect and author. His most influential book, Architecture for Worship, covered the modern period in church architecture.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Sövik was born in 1918 in Henan province, China, a child of missionaries. After 17 years in China, Edward moved to the United States with his older sister and twin brother to attend college at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.[2] Professor Arnold Flaten influenced Edward to study art;[3] Flaten had designed the Art Barn on campus.[4] Sövik graduated in 1939.[5][6] Edward moved to New York City to study painting at the Art Students League, then returned to Saint Paul, Minnesota, to study theology at Luther Seminary.

In the summer of 1941, sensing the inevitability of war, Ed Sövik enlisted in the Marine Corps.[7] He served during the Second World War as a night fighter pilot in the Pacific theater, and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, Sövik studied at Yale University's architecture program, then returned to Northfield, Minnesota, to start an architecture firm and teach at St. Olaf College.[2]

Architecture career[edit]

As a practicing architect, Edward Sövik focused on churches and institutional buildings. He designed buildings for his alma mater and employer St. Olaf College, Carleton College, Concordia College (Moorhead, Minnesota), Stevens College, and the University of Minnesota. In addition to leading the company Sovik, Mathre & Madson[3] (now SMSQ Architects), Sövik was President of the American Institute of Architects Minnesota chapter.[2]

Sövik was also a professor of art at St. Olaf College. He designed, or assisted in the design of, 20 buildings on campus.[8] As a professor, Sövik published many monographs and articles. He cites six scholars[3] as influences on his work leading up to the 1973 publication of Architecture for Worship: liturgist Gregory Dix, liturgical architecture scholar J. G. Davies, liturgical historian Josef Jungmann, Langer, theologian and church historian Hans Lietzmann, and Lohmeyer. In this text, Sövik argued for church spaces that are not set apart for holy rituals, but are adaptable and suitable as "non-church" buildings.[3]

Legacy and honors[edit]

Sövik received more than a dozen state and national design awards.[3] He was named a Member of the American Institute of Architects in 1953 and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1967.[9] In 1981 he was the first recipient of the Edward S. Frey Award from the AIA Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art, and Architecture.[10] Modern Liturgy magazine named him the "most influential liturgical architect of the past twenty years".[11]


  • Sövik, Edward A. (1973). Architecture for worship. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House. ISBN 0-8066-1320-3.
  • Sovik, E. A. (1960). The Shape of Our Places of Worship.
  • Sovik, E. A. (1960). The Architect as an Artist in the Church: Address Given at the Fall Retreat of the Dept. of Church Building and the Church Architectural Guild of America, Princeton, Sept. 22, 1960. National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
  • Sövik, Edward Anders (1980). Accessible Church Buildings. Pilgrim Press, The/United Church Press. ISBN 978-0-8298-0445-4.
  • Krey, Gary Stuart De; Lagerquist, L. DeAne; College, St. Olaf (1999). Called to serve: St. Olaf and the vocation of a church college. St. Olaf College. ISBN 978-600-01-1621-7. Contributor.


  1. ^ "Retired art professor, campus architect Edward Sövik dies". St. Olaf College. May 6, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Edward Anders Sovik". Minneapolis Star Tribune. May 7, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Sövik, Edward A. (1973). Architecture for worship. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House. ISBN 0-8066-1320-3.
  4. ^ Flaten, David (February 11, 2011). "David Flaten celebrates his father's art". University of La Verne Campus Times. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  5. ^ Lathrop, Alan K. (2003). Churches of Minnesota: An Illustrated Guide. University of Minnesota Press. p. 303. ISBN 978-1-4529-0440-5. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Edward Anders Sovik (1918-2014)". Luther Seminary Archives. 2014. Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "Minnesota's Greatest Generation Oral History Project, Part I". MInnesota Historical Society: Voices of Minnesota. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  8. ^ "Edward Anders Sovik". Bierman Funeral Home. May 6, 2014. Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Edward Anders Sovik". The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Edward S. Frey Award". American Institute of Architects. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "Sovik named most influential liturgical architect". Northfield News. Retrieved December 18, 2014.