When design work begins on your project, the first step is a site visit from a senior designer, often the shop member who will act as the Project Manager. Extensive photographs and measurements are taken of your existing building, or studies made of the drawings for buildings under construction. Upon returning to the shop, a highly detailed 1:16 scale model is constructed of the portion of the building where the organ will go. We have used this method of design since the founding of the company in 1961, and continue to use it even in conjunction with the computer-aided drafting we have employed since 1986. This dual method gives us the opportunity to experience your room as if we were actually in it, to pick up nuances of the shape and details of the space, and to relate motifs in the organ design to the architectural motifs of the room. We seek to create instruments of great beauty that are at home in their surroundings and have the quality of always having been there. The model also gives us an unparalleled ability to share the design process with you as it moves forward, whether through your visits to the shop or digital photography sent via email.

At the same time as visual design begins the internal mechanical and structural design commence as well. Any preparation of the building to accept the new organ is discussed at this time. Topics to explore often include the acoustical environment, electrical service, HVAC systems, and weight bearing capabilities.

Opus 139

Opus 139 1:16 Scale Model (Left) and installed in Memorial Church, Harvard University (Right)


Fisk's design team worked with our acoustician, architects and church liaisons to prepare the space for our instrument, putting in time on our project long before it was even at the preliminary design phase. [Tonal Director] David Pike's expertise and artistry in tonal matters is astounding. He is an organist, with a degree from Eastman, and knows the literature; so he hears every stop's potential while it is still an idea on paper.

Janette Fishell, D.Mus
Distinguished Professor of Music
East Carolina University
Director of Music/Organist
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Greenville, North Carolina