Photo by John Horner

Commissioned to honor Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, this $60-million temple and meditation center is the largest Buddhist temple built outside of Thailand. The king, who is Thailand's longest-serving monarch, was born in Cambridge, Mass., while his father was studying at Harvard.Located on a 50-acre site, within 50 miles of the king's birthplace, the 110,000-sq-ft, four-story steel frame building was built with a precast and limestone exterior and topped by a 185-ft-high steeple-like chedi, or Buddhist stupa, made of gold-coated brass.

The interior of the project consists of a museum and library, which is adorned with royal artifacts; a meditation room containing a marble Buddha that sits on a pedestal of cherry wood; and a multipurpose meeting/worship room that accommodates up to 700 people and features a 3.5-ton gold-clad bronze Buddha.

Since much of the center's finishes were created in Thailand, coordinating delivery through customs to the rural project site proved difficult. Other challenges included working in an occupied building for nine months while the monks who resided there celebrated religious holidays.

To schedule the project as efficiently as possible, the team presented a modular approach to build the exterior of precast and limestone. And to coordinate critical delivery of materials from Thailand and installation, two Thai contractors helped the team manage deliveries, handle scheduling challenges and alleviate the language barrier.

To further ease the process, the project team created drawings to identify materials, where they were going and when they would arrive so the schedule could be updated accordingly.

The drawings were instrumental in communicating to the owner when certain elements of the project would be completed and how they would look.

Key Players

Owner's Project Director Paul Chapple R.E. Development Inc.

General Contractor Consigli Construction Co.

Lead Design Firm ARC/Architectural Resources Cambridge

Structural Engineer Weidlinger Associates

Civil Engineer BSC Group

HVAC/Electrical/Plumbing Engineer TMP Consulting Engineers Inc.

Fire Protection Engineer EngiTek Inc.