The Helena Temple is an example of the LDS Church’s high standards for materials and quality, featuring Portuguese stone on the exterior.

August 17, 2023

Groundbreaking Modular Temple Earns DBIA National Merit Award

The LDS Church partnered with Haskell to develop a new approach to temple construction to accelerate its project schedule without sacrificing quality.


The first-of-its-kind modularly constructed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (JCLDS) Temple in Helena, Montana, has received a 2023 National Design-Build Project/Team Merit Award in the Civic/Assembly category, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has announced.

Facing a significant increase in demand for temples worldwide, the LDS Church partnered with Haskell to develop a modular approach to temple construction to accelerate the project schedule without sacrificing quality. Although modular construction is not new, it has never been applied to temple construction before. The Helena Temple was the first project to test the viability of this new approach and took roughly 12 months from the setting modules to substantial completion.

“There is no doubt that this is faster,” said Bill Rudder, Haskell Vice President and Religion & Cultural Market Leader. “It's reducing the time it takes to deliver a temple by half and, over time, more. As we change the supply chain and as we perfect it and as it turns into a manufacturing process, it ultimately will cost less than a traditional building.”

The Temple is an example of the Church’s high standards for materials and quality, featuring Portuguese stone for the exterior, Turkish stone for the interior, and quarter-sawn cherry wood. Using these hard-surfaced materials required a high degree of precision that is atypical in modular construction. The successful incorporation of these elements attests to the extensive planning, engineering and oversight involved in the temple’s construction.

The structure comprises 25 modules manufactured by Bessemer, Alabama-based BLOX, a Haskell strategic partner. Each module is created in the factory and includes mechanical, plumbing and electrical. The modules then are transported to the site, where they are stitched to create the core of the building.

“The most exciting part about it is the process and the problem-solving along the way,” Rudder said. “This is a different type of construction, and therefore the tools that we use to solve it are different. There was a lot of thought and engineering that went in behind it.”

When a significant portion of the Portuguese stone used for the exterior cladding arrived damaged, Haskell dispatched team members to Portugal to investigate. Haskell assumed control of the shipping process to avoid further losses, resolving the issue of broken granite and expediting the shipping time by approximately four weeks with each shipment. 

By reducing the building's footprint, minimizing material waste and incorporating sustainable features, Haskell created a structure that met the Church’s needs while prioritizing environmental conservation and cost efficiency over the life of the building. Employing modular delivery minimized material waste because the manufacturer could accurately calculate the required quantity of materials, ordering only what was necessary.

Modular construction also ensured a faster timeline than traditional methods because prefabricated components could be manufactured in the factory at the same time civil work took place on-site.

The project team included members from countries such as Brazil, Portugal, Peru, Mexico, Haiti and the Philippines, which added a unique global perspective. This diversity created an atmosphere of learning and collaboration, as team members were encouraged to share their insights and contribute to the collective success of the project. This inclusive work environment rich in talent, expertise and fresh perspectives cultivated creativity, encouraged collaboration, and ultimately led to completing a Temple that exceeded expectations.

The DBIA considered 62 projects in 10 categories from across the U.S. Submissions were evaluated by a distinguished panel of industry experts. Merit Award winners compete for a National Award of Excellence, “Best of” categories and Project of the Year. 

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Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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