Stone World

Granite temple punctuates the California sky

November 1, 2003


Under the warm sun of California, a new temple was recently built on 4 acres of land in Redlands, CA. This Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sits on a residential lot once occupied by orange groves. The building stands high in stature, with its slender tower reaching up to the sky. The 17,000-square-foot sanctuary features granite, which creates a clean and simple structure.

In the beginning of 2002, construction began for the temple, with a design goal of simple elegance with a “soft” form, according to the architect, Allen Erekson of Lloyd E. Platt and Associates. It was to be classic but modern with a single spire. The goal was achieved by choosing stone that was monolithic and elegant.

Empress White granite, supplied by Bestview International Co. of Empress, IL, was the stone of choice for many reasons. “It met the ASTM requirements and the criteria of the client, as well as being economically justified and readily available,” said Erekson. The clients looked at numerous stones before choosing this particular white granite. Other stones that were considered were light in color as well, but the Empress White had all the characteristics that the client wanted, according to the architect.

The entire exterior used 50,000 square feet of Empress White granite, quarried from the Eastern Coast of a Chinese province. Not only did the main structure of the temple have the Empress White, but the water features also used the granite. “The color of the stone was medium textured grain light gray,” said the architect. The speckled granite is in a honed finish for the majority of the building, except for the bottom 3-foot-high perimeter, which had a polished finish.

The sizes of the stones varied throughout the structure. The panel pieces were assorted sizes, thicknesses and finishes. The carved frieze pieces have three different sizes, and the windows and doorframes were carved from different sizes and shapes, according to Perry Liu of Bestview International Co.

“The Empress White granite was mechanically fastened with a stainless steel attachment system,” explained Mark Knaphus of Caffall Tile and Marble Inc. “It took about six months to install, with 10 to 12 workers on the job.” A few difficulties did pop up during the creation of the sanctuary. “Coordination and quality control were the biggest challenges we faced,” said Knaphus. “The structure had a whole lot of detail. Coordinating the hand-carved stonework that the architects envisioned on the shop drawings and cutting tickets into reality was a tough feat to conquer. The stone was cut in China, so making the hand-carved instructions a reality was difficult.”

Overall, the reaction to the project has been very positive. “The neighbors, clients and community officials came back a number of times to see the quality of the building,” said the architect.

End box:
Redlands California Temple, Redlands, CA

Architect: Lloyd E. Platt and Associates, Holladay, UT

Stone Supplier: Bestview International Co., Vernon Hills, IL

Stone Installer: Caffall Tile and Marble Inc., Salt Lake City, UT

General Contractor: Layton Construction Co. Inc., Sandy, UT