2013 Light Commercial 2nd Runner-Up

ICFs’ green features and energy efficiency are strong selling points, especially when the developer is also the long-term owner. A Seventh-day Adventist congregation in Southern California discovered ICF construction would be a great choice for a new Worship and Multipurpose Center they had planned.

The 16,700-sq.-ft. building needed to match the architecture of the adjacent Mission Revival Sanctuary. This architectural style is historically and climatically appropriate for the region, but it’s also exceptionally well suited to ICF. The thick walls, unadorned plaster surfaces and low-pitched clay tile roofs are perfect, as ICF walls are typically about a foot thick, and the foam blocks make a perfect substrate for stucco.

In order to meet lot setback and height restrictions, the building required a large basement, which was formed with ICFs. The 12-foot-tall retaining wall outside the basement was also formed with ICF, with the space between them used as an outdoor atrium. The two ICF walls reinforce each other with a series of connecting concrete walkways and flying buttresses, also formed with ICF. The installer proved his competence installing these, some of which are set at a 45-degree angle 18 feet above the floor. The design also included numerous unusual angles, T-intersections, and ICF concrete columns to support deck posts. Finally, Southern California is a noted earthquake zone, so the installer also had to ensure the heavy double-curtain of rebar was properly placed to meet seismic (Zone 4) requirements.

It was the installation subcontractor’s first experience with ICFs, but thanks to outstanding support provided by Fox Block’s regional manager Randy Daniels and form distributor Tony Penna, the building was a complete success.

Construction challenges included forming a series of ICF walkways and flying buttresses, some of which are set at a 45-degree angle 18 feet above the floor.

The building is dedicated to youth programs, and church members have commented that—knowing earthquakes and fire often go hand-in-hand—it gives them peace of mind knowing their children are in one of the town’s safest structures.

Church administrators appreciate the building’s incredible energy efficiency. It surpassed Title 24 requirements by 33% in a hot, arid climate. In fact, they’ve received a total of $65,000 in checks from Southern California Edison, the local electric company, in utility rebates. That’s an average of more than $10,000 per month.

The neighbors appreciate ICFs’ excellent sound absorption properties; the noise of the teen’s praise music doesn’t escape the building. The community at large has been overwhelmingly positive to the building’s aesthetic qualities. Church leaders report they receive comments like “one of the most attractive buildings in town” and “we drive by to just enjoy the view.”

Mike Kennaw, marketing manager at Fox Blocks, summarizes, “This project is an excellent example of devotional market use of ICF and the subsequent utility company process to gain rebates for owners while at the same time providing strength and security for the church staff and community especially the kids.”

Project Statistics

Location: Redlands, Calif.
Type: Religious Worship/Multipurpose Center
Size: 16,700 sq. ft. (floor)
ICF Use: 24,000 sq. ft. (all exterior walls) + 2,500 sq. ft. interior walls
Cost: $2.6 million
Total Construction: 17 months
ICF Start-to-Finish Time: 120 days

Construction Team

Owner: Redlands 7th-Day Adventist Church
General Contractor: Rosaasen Corporation
ICF Installer: Superior Concrete & Masonry
ICF Distributor: Forming Solutions
Architect: Adrian•Gaus Architects, Inc.
Engineer: Innovative Structural Engineering
ICF System: Fox Blocks

Fast Facts

  • Numerous unusual angles and T-intersections
  • ICFs used as retaining wall system in outdoor atrium
  • 45-degree ICF flying buttress installed 18 feet above ground
  • Heavy double-curtain of rebar
  • Extremely efficient; utility rebates total $65,000 in first 6 months


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