Art Integrated in Architecture
In the 1950s William McElcheran worked as a liturgical designer for the Toronto architectural firm, Bruce Brown and Brisley Architects. During his time with them he became their lead designer for church and university buildings and he was able to fully develop his love for art integrated into architecture. In 1958, he had a significant role in the design of McMaster Divinity College and Chapel where he also created the sculptures in stone and wood in the interior.
In 1960, Nathaniel H. Parker, the first principal of McMaster Divinity College wrote to William McElcheran about the chapel McElcheran had designed.
"When we came to that point in our planning where we wanted a sculptor who had such gifts as would enable him to make the stones speak as we wanted them to speak, we had no hesitation in coming to you and I take great pleasure in telling you now that we are extremely happy with what you did.
I sincerely believe that your carvings for (McMaster) Divinity College will rank permanently amongst the choice artistic creations of contemporary young Canada. They inspire me when I behold them. I am especially fond of the carvings on the pulpit and beside the cross in the chancel. The strength and awesome dignity which you have imparted on the figure of Christ lifts my heart when I enter the chapel and I am equally pleased with all the other carvings, on the pulpit rail, on the communion table, on the big front doors, and on the west end of the chapel.
Scores of people have spoken to me of their admiration for your work and not one has failed to be appreciative. You have done us a great service and I count it all joy to thank you on behalf of (McMaster) Divinity College as well as for my own sake."