Out of the Ashes: Geofoam & The Provo City Temple

  By: Terry Meier, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

After 125 years of service to the community the Provo Tabernacle was tragically lost to fire. Church leaders contemplated the future of the building’s empty shell and a decision was reached. “A temple would be built out of the ashes of the tabernacle.”

Unique cutting edge construction technology is taking the burned-out shell of the historic tabernacle and giving it new life. To accomplish this, the brickwork was fortified with 10 inches of concrete and the stone foundation was removed and replaced with a concrete foundation. This required the brickwork to be suspended 40 feet in the air supported by 146 steel piles. In a sense, the contractor (Jacobsen Construction) is building in reverse starting with the outer shell and then building from there.


The temple will have a 245 car underground parking garage. The underground parking will allow landscapers to turn the grounds surrounding the temple into a place of beauty. Landscaping around the temple will be extensive, bringing lush flower gardens, trees, fountains and a pavilion to downtown Provo.

The area above the parking structure is covered with a 3 to 6 foot layer of EPS Geofoam. The Geofoam is used to make needed elevation changes on the plaza deck above the underground structure. Approximately 490,000 cubic feet of Geofoam was used for that purpose. The Geofoam is covered with either soil or a concrete topping slab depending on where it is used.

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The reason Geofoam was used is because of how lightweight and structural it is. Replacing soil (125 pounds per cubic foot), and concrete (150 pounds per cubic foot), with EPS Geofoam (less than 3 pounds per cubic foot), the contractor was able to reduce the vertical weight on the underground structure significantly. It is estimated that the use of Geofoam reduced the weight on the underground parking structure by an astounding 64,000,000 pounds!  When the weight is reduced on the underground structure the building materials used to make the structure are also reduced resulting in significant cost savings.

Upon completion of this project this resurrected building will once again provide years of service and beauty to the community. Out of the ashes a beautiful transformation has indeed transpired.

As a supplier of the Geofoam used on this project, ACH Foam Technologies is proud to be a part of that transformation on such a unique building project.

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2 Responses to Out of the Ashes: Geofoam & The Provo City Temple

  1. Hi Terry Meier
    Many many Thanks for such a wonderful article . But I have some query should I ask here?

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