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    The Structural Design of an LDS Church

    By rstroup27
    May 6, '12 2:57 PM EST

    This project focused on the structural design of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This structure is located in the heart of Cambridge and less than half of a mile from the Charles River. This building will be used as a house of worship for the Mormon Church as well as a recreation center and a place for Bible study. This structure features two levels of parking: one parking level is on grade and the second is underground parking. The first floor of the church is located above the ground level parking and features the main chapel area and a gymnasium as well as study rooms. The second level of the church consists of study rooms as well as rooms for staff to work. This floor is open to the gymnasium and the chapel below. The roof level of this structure is lined with multiple parapets and supports a mechanical penthouse at two opposite ends of the structure. The structure is topped by a steeple which measures almost 45 feet in height.

    This structure has a footprint of almost 20,000 SF and sits on a lot with just under 30,000 SF. The structure provides covered parking for a maximum of 59 vehicles. The main chapel of the structure provides seating for up to 641 people and provides meeting areas for up for 329 people. The structure shall be classified as a Type 2B protected, non-combustible structure and has three full-height stairways and two full-height elevators.

    The first task in the efficient design was a code review and determination of the loads that were acting on this structure. Using ASCE 7-05, we were able to accurately determine the wind, live, and seismic loads acting on the structure. After determining the loads on the structure, we looked at various systems that could be used in multiple locations in the structure including the gymnasium area and parking structure. Systems studied included, but were not limited to, one- and two-way post-tensioned concrete, light- and normal-weight composite steel design, and joist versus W-section comparison. We studied the advantages and drawbacks of the various systems that we studied and made the determination of the various systems used in our design of this structure.

    Additional resources used include the International Building Code (2009), the Massachusetts Amendments to ASCE 7-05 Base Volume 8th Edition, ACI 318-08, and the AISC Steel Construction Manual 13th Edition.

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About this Blog

I'm currently earning my masters in structural engineering at Lehigh University, but I hold a bachelors of architecture from the University of Oregon. What I would like to write about has to do with my aforementioned diverse background, i.e., what lessons I've learned in structural engineering that may help me as an architect in the near future.

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