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Monday, July 21, 2014

Neighborhood Temple

I took some pictures before attending a fireside this evening.  Some of the views of the north face are new because the area between Center Street and the temple is being cleaned off.
Andy Kirby, senior project engineer for the LDS Church, spoke at the fireside, hosted by the Provo South Stake in preparation for their second annual Temple to Temple Run.  The temple is within their stake boundaries, their neighborhood. 
Brother Kirby told us that the direction he received from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was to preserve as much of the original structure as possible after the 2010 fire.
Three of the gables, including this north gable, were pulled in by the collapsing roof.
Masons have been working on the north face since last winter. Two niches in the northwest tower on the right were recently rebuilt with a quartzitic sandstone veneer, replacing original stucco.
Brick was purchased from various sources to rebuild the gables and restore the brick face but Brother Kirby assured us that no buildings were torn down to acquire brick.
About eighteen inches of the top of the wall could not be preserved.  This has now been rebuilt all the way around the temple.  Fancy corbelled brickwork, called dentils, is just below the roofline.
The original tabernacle did not have stained glass windows.  These were added about the time the center tower was removed in 1917.
The company which maintained the art glass windows in the tabernacle is building the new stained glass.  If all goes as planned, we'll start seeing the new windows this fall.
Saving the brick is a critical endeavor in the preservation process, since the entire interior was destroyed.
A chemical analysis was performed on the original lime mortar.  It was kiln fired with a mixture of water and sand.
This mortar was replicated and is being used in the ongoing masonry work.
When the brickwork is complete, the exterior will be covered with a coating spray which will help solidify the brick without changing the color.
The roof slate, from Vermont, was cut to match the shape of the original shake shingles.  Snow guards are in place on this portion of the roof which keep ice and snow from falling in large chunks.  The roof should be completed later this summer.
Brother Kirby explained that engineers calculated the weight of the materials which are on top of the annex on this north side, including the geofoam, soil yet to be placed, water, and even occasional machinery.  
All of these details were factored in the original design.  He mentioned that the space for trees in the geofoam is only about four feet deep.  The plan is to acquire trees which don't grow very much.
One year ago the underground annex was still open to the elements.
Today, interior work is ongoing, with mechanical, electrical and plumbing work almost complete.
Sheetrock is in place in the lower levels and some painting has begun.
Framing is ongoing in the upper levels and gothic arches are being formed.
Brother Kirby says he can't resist looking up when he walks into these upper rooms, which is the intent of the designers.
In March 2013, the shell of the tabernacle was balanced on piers, forty feet in the air.
Today the building is on a firm foundation.  Brother Kirby told us that one of the most exciting events for him was when the baptismal font, on the east side below ground, was poured in one pour.  The workmen filled the font with water to test it and some suggested that they were hastening the work.
Three niches with sandstone veneer are complete on the northeast tower.
Two "A" endowment rooms will face east on this side.  Patrons will climb stairs in the east towers to reach a second endowment room. 
The ceiling in the upper "B" room will mimic the original cove ceiling in the tabernacle before the center tower was removed.  Brother Kirby said this ceiling was very Victorian, very colorful.  He also mentioned that the Church is interested in locating these murals which at one point hung in the tabernacle. If your grandmother has one or two in her basement, perhaps you could contact him.
Brother Kirby talked about repairing the sandstone and described a Dutchman fix, in which the mason fills in a chip rather than replaces the stone.
Many of the stones are original but have been cleaned and restored.
The east side is a very active work zone.
One year ago it was much easier to see.
The sandstone belt course had suffered quite a bit of damage.  This picture was taken two months ago but I didn't post it because it made me sad.
I should have had more faith, because today it looks much better.  Brother Kirby compared the symbolism of the rebirth of the tabernacle into a temple to our personal lives.  He quoted the fifth verse of the hymn, "How Firm A Foundation."  It begins, "When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie. . . ."
The east gable will hold the words "Holiness To The Lord."  This should happen very soon.
The slate on the five towers is cut just a little differently than the slate on the roof, again matching the shakes from the original shingles.  The southeast tower now has some slate.
Even more exciting is sandstone veneer at the base of the tower!  If you are counting, this is #6.
Brick repair is just beginning on the south face.
One year ago, the tower roofs were still under repair in the north lot.
Soon this south face will be as beautiful as the north side.
The scaffolding is in place.  The masons are working.  They just need time.
Brother Kirby showed us a picture of a mock up of the sandstone courses which will cover the visible portions of the foundation in the underground garage.  It will be beautiful and is likely not something we were thinking about last summer.
A questioner from the congregation asked Brother Kirby what the biggest challenge was.  He quipped that having 6.8 million pounds "swinging in the wind" had kept him awake at night, but putting a square roof on a non-square structure was also very difficult.  He explained that over the years the walls had bowed, but they got the roof on anyway.
Soon my camera will zoom in and find repaired stone on the south side.
Blue tape indicates more work is necessary.
Some of the brick on this south wall has already been repaired or replaced.
Brick is rising on the south gable.
I tried to determine what the plastic sheet covers.
I was not brave enough to ask about this during the fireside.  Perhaps it's an arch like the new one on the north side.
Brother Kirby told us that there will only be two structures on the grounds beside the new temple.  One is the pavilion, which now has concrete walls and an elevator shaft.
The other above-ground structure is the mechanical building, which has a water course of sandstone below the new brick.  The water course marks ground level.  Don't forget about the geofoam layer yet to be constructed.
This picture by Yuki Dorff shows the location of the mechanical building in relation to the north lot.
A thirteen-foot-tall bronze fountain will be built between the pavilion and the temple.
Brother Kirby described the green rebar on the floor of the garage as mat footing.  The concrete over it is the roof deck.  Maybe you already knew those terms, but they were new vocabulary to me.  

He told us the roof deck would soon be complete.
Last summer the south lot was still being excavated.
We learned tonight that the pumps are off in the north and west lots.  The water from this drain is only coming from the south part of the grounds.
Another picture from Yuki Dorff shows the west lot planters from the Nu Skin building.
A questioner asked Brother Kirby how many rooms were in the temple.
He said, "Counting closets, easily over a hundred."  He added that there are five elevators.  Patrons who have trouble with stairs will have options besides going through the tower stairwells.
Yuki Dorff took this picture of the post office.  A questioner asked Brother Kirby if the Church had acquired this area.  His reply was, "We are moving towards a dedication without the post office property." 
Much of the work on the temple is happening offsite.  For example, some of the interior woodwork is being milled in China from African mahogany.
Brother Kirby told us that as soon as the gables were finished, the bird houses would be placed.  I was just starting to wonder about his choice of words when he said that the architects called the bird house a gablet, but it was a made-up word.
That explains a lot, but maybe not to the architects or Wikipedia.
President Larsen of the South Stake told us we could not ask Brother Kirby when the temple would be completed.  He did say that he asked Brother Kirby if he would speak to the stake again next year on July 19th if the temple was still under construction.
Mark your calendars.  Brother Kirby said he'd be there!

2 comments:

Brian said...

About the Gablets: Every word was a made up word once upon a time!

Julie said...

No one asked me, but I like the word, "gablet."