FFKR Architects in Salt Lake City, UT, has worked with the Church of Latter Day Saints for at least 25 years. FFKR Architects has built these temples in major cities all over the world, roughly 150 of them and every year the Church of Latter Day Saints announces four or five new temples. “We were awarded the temple in Kansas City, it was a precast temple, very nice,” said Roger Jackson, principal architect at FFKR Architects. “Somebody else was rewarded the Philadelphia temple and went through the entire design process and developed a very contemporary building. The highest levels of the church said it didn’t fit right in their vision for the temple and decided it should be more traditional. The design managers on the project came to us and asked if we would help them get this building to be more traditional looking and approved, we said yes.”
FFKR Architects took the exact floor plan that Perkins + Will of Atlanta, GA, the firm who won the bid for the project, and tweaked it, stating they, “frosted the cake a little more traditionally.” According to Jackson, FFKR spent some time in Philadelphia gathering inspiration from the local architecture. “Philadelphia has so many beautiful buildings made out of stone,” said Jackson. “We took pictures of the buildings in the city in great detail, trying to get inspiration for the LDS temple. We do our best to make the temple fit like they belong in the city but every temple everywhere has a certain look to it, so that’s our challenge.” One of the things that makes this temple so unique, is that it is located right in the heart of the city, and not just near it. “A lot of the time the temple will be just outside of the city,” said Jackson. “The Hartford, CT, temple is actually just outside in Farmington. This temple is right there in the city, making it extremely unique. One of our biggest challenges with the design of the temple is that due to its location it put the project in several overlapping jurisdictions.” Besides the city of Philadelphia’s jurisdiction, it is also placed right next to the Ben Franklin Parkway, putting it in the highway’s jurisdiction as well.