When owners of the new LDS temple in Brigham City, Utah, first conceived this project, they imagined the facade would be all stone, but they quickly realized that they had neither the time nor the budget.
"With the intricately designed details they wanted, stone would have been prohibitively expensive, with an incredible amount of material waste," says Steve Pimentel, senior project manager with Clark Pacific, the precaster for the project. "It also would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve given the aggressive project schedule required by the owner."
Instead, they chose precast concrete, which gave them the beauty, durability, and design they were looking for but on a much more reasonable budget. "Precast provided an environmentally and economically friendly way to achieve the design intent that would have been all but impossible using other materials," Pimentel says.
Choosing an architectural precast concrete facade also saved time. Hoisting of the precast concrete panels for the main temple building was completed in just one and a half months, which enabled work on the interior finishes to commence quickly, ultimately enabling the team to deliver the completed building within two years of the first project meeting attended by Clark Pacific.
"By using precast for the exterior cladding instead of other materials, the project team was able to take advantage of the high-quality and durable finish of the architectural precast concrete. It also enabled the team to leverage the architectural versatility and plasticity of concrete to accommodate several integral design features and create a complex facade of dramatic depth and bold character," Pimentel says.
The temple's dual spire reaches more than 160 ft (49 m) into the sky, making the structure visible from the nearby interstate freeway and throughout the surrounding valley. The building is clad entirely in sparkling white dolomite aggregate-based precast concrete panels. The complex design features arched recessed windows, a repeating peach blossom motif that reflects a similar design etched in the windows, compound steps at the corners of the building, and recessed cornices with triangular design elements. Seven large wall panels at the base of the spires also include a multilayered flower petal detailing element with wedding cake-like setbacks. In addition to the 230 panels comprising the main temple building, Clark Pacific also provided 100 panels for various ornamental sitework features.
"When I first saw the designs for this project, my jaw dropped at the architectural features," Pimentel says. "It was a whole new level of ornate detail than anything we had done before."
By working closely with the designer to consolidate the details and collaborating with the architect and engineer throughout the project, they were able to create a landmark structure that the owners love. "We had great rapport with everyone on the project, which is why it came together so well," he says.
The temple will act as a sacred landmark for the community, and by choosing precast concrete the owners ensured that it will be there for generations to come. The precast concrete cladding, in combination with field-applied spray-on foam insulation at the backs of the panels, created an efficient thermal barrier system at the building's exterior that will support a 250-year service life.
"The durability of precast was a frequent topic of conversation on this project," Pimentel says. "They wanted something beautiful, of the highest-quality finish, that would stand the test of time, and that is what we gave them."