Franz Joseph Untersee

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Franz Joseph Untersee
OLPH north sun jeh.jpg
Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help from 5th Avenue
Born 1858
Glarus, Switzerland
Died September 5, 1927
Brookline, Massachusetts
Nationality Swiss, USA
Known for Architect

Franz Joseph Untersee (1858-1927) was a Swiss-American architect who designed many Roman Catholic churches throughout the eastern part of United States.

Born and educated in Glarus, Switzerland, he was sent to Germany for technical training, and after receiving his degree in architecture from Stuttgart University, returned to his native country. He served for a time as assistant to the City Architect of Bern but left to broaden the scope of his education in other cities of the continent.

In 1882, Untersee sailed for America and having established residence in Brookline, a suburb of Boston, opened an office where he continued active for forty years. He was elected to the Boston Society of Architects in 1896 and in 1901 became an Associate of the American Institute of Architects. Many of his early works were in Brookline including the old Public Bath House (1896), the Manual Training Center (1901) and Brookline Savings Bank (both old and new buildings).

It was however in the field of church design that he was best known. Many Roman Catholic buildings of the then popular Romanesque type were built from his plans in New England and New York State. His last work completed just before his death was the Mission High School, Roxbury, Massachusetts.


Buildings attributed to Untersee[edit]


  1. ^ Description of the Basilica organs with a mention of Untersee
  2. ^ Mt Saint Alphonsus Archived 2010-08-25 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ pictures of St. Lawrence Church, Brookline Massachusetts
  4. ^ photograph of one of the buildings of the House of the Good Shepherd, Roxbury, MA. Possibly not one of the buildings attributed to Untersee