Have you ever wondered what goes into the design of new temples? How much is planned ahead of time? To what extent do they know what the temple will look like when it is finished? What level of detail is thought about even before construction begins?
I have thought those things many times before, and I believe they have now been answered in large measure by something fascinating that Elder Bednar shared in his CES fireside address just a couple weeks ago on May 3, 2009. His talk was entitled, “Things as They Really Are,” and he spoke about how the virtualization of reality through modern technology can take particularly pernicious forms that can have damaging eternal spiritual effects. It is an excellent talk, and one that every member of the Church should read and study carefully.
He also spoke of the good that can come through these technologies. One of the positive influences of our modern advances in virtual reality was shown in architecture, engineering, and design planning. Elder Bednar showed two sets of images of how computer graphics technology is used in the design of temples, and they are incredible:
Left: Computer rendering of sealing room in the Newport Beach California Temple. Right: Photo of actual sealing room in the Newport Beach California Temple. (click for a larger view)
As you can see, an extremely detailed plan of the Newport Beach California Temple was conceived before construction even started, even down to the fabrics, textures, colors, lights, windows, and furniture. Here is another:
Left: Computer rendering of lobby in the Copenhagen Denmark Temple. Right: Photo of actual lobby in the Copenhagen Denmark Temple. (click for a larger view)
Again, the attention to detail is astounding in the lobby rendering of the Copenhagen Denmark Temple before it was constructed. Needless to say, the Church knows a great deal about what a temple will look like before the dirt is stirred. Coming from a computer graphics background, I am greatly impressed.
The Church spares no expense in doing things right, particularly where the Lord’s temples are concerned. As in ancient times, the House of the Lord is only built with the finest of materials, craft, and skill available, and the most painstaking efforts are made beforehand to ensure that the Lord’s most holy house ends up being what it should be—the most sacred place on earth.