Independence Temple & Community of Christ International HQ

Independence Temple is one of the first architectural icons produced in the Kansas City region with Zahner engineering and fabrication. Located in Independence, Missouri, the building was built in 1994. At the time of construction, it was the RLDS Temple, and later was renamed Independence Temple. 

The shape of the design evokes the form of a spiral nautilus shell. Gyo Obata of HOK asked Zahner to develop a conical roof based on a conch shell that he had selected from a large collection of seashells during a design meeting. This form was developed with Zahner engineers into a roof system for the new church headquarters.

Rlds spire
Independence Temple designed by Gyo Obata of HOK.
Rlds aerial independence temple
Aerial photograph of the Independence Temple designed by Gyo Obata of HOK.
Rlds viewed from above
Aerial photograph of the Independence Temple in Missouri.
Spire detail rlds temple independence
Detail of the Independence Temple spire, designed by Gyo Obata of HOK.
Spire detail construction
A prefabricated element of the roof spire is secured for shipment.

The above picture provides a view into the engineering and construction used on the top of the spire.  Union workers at Zahner prepare the part for shipment.  After its installation, custom engineered panels are attached to the face of the this sub-structure, resulting in a quick and smart installation.

The solution for producing the roof consisting of more than 300 uniquely assembled megapanels, each tapered and unique in shape. This sheet metal skins of the roof cladding are produced in a custom-finish stainless steel. The complexity of this roof attests to the engineering and design prowess, as well as the skilled Zahner fabricators and installation team involved with this project.

How Buildings were Made in the Digital Dark Age

When this building was made in 1994, the architects at HOK used a proprietary software system to complete their design work.  At the same time, Zahner engineers were producing their work using AutoCAD to augment what was still mostly drafting at the time. 

Today, everything is defined digitally, but in the 1990's this task was very manual. To develop the project with accuracy, Zahner took field measurements of certain defining points of the roof, and radioed them back to the shop, where a custom written AutoCAD script was waiting to divide the roof surface into panels.

Today, a similar design would be developed from a digital model. However, at the time, using process was sufficient to give Zahner engineers the tools to produce this very intricate design. If Zahner were to produce the project today, the current technologies would cut the project's schedule in half.