All of the 6 spire sloped roof temples stray from the normal neo-classical mold of temples - and I think they do it in a really good way. I think the Portland Oregon Temple is the best of the 6 spire sloped roof temples and it definitely brings variety to its architecture. This building feels different from other buildings, as I think a temple should. It has translucent stone, triangular staircases, an elongated hexagonal floor plan, a multi-level celestial room, and very unique spires. The spires use pointed arches in ways I've never seen before and fit perfectly in the densely wooded site. This temple shows that a temple can be very different from the common idea of a temple and be even better because of that creativity and difference.
San Diego California Temple
Here is a temple that breaks the mold. No other temple shares its floor plan (rumors are that the cost of the temple has led to no duplicates). Yet here is a temple that is truly breath taking. The immaculate white exterior speaks of holiness. The soaring towers elevate our thoughts to God and heavenly things. The stained glass shines and brings light filled with hidden symbols. Each corner tower and the base is largely solid. This gives the temple a feeling of strength and protection, while the stained glass windows give it a warm, airy, delicate feel at the same time. The numerous angles pierce the sky like beautiful ice crystals in a snow flake. People have complained that it looks like a Disney castle. I think that is a bit of a stretch, but even so - who cares? It is beautiful, complex, interesting, inspiring, and blesses the lives of many people. Unfortunately I have yet to visit this temple, but I look forward to eventually go there.
The Hague Netherlands Temple
The first style of small temples were all basically the same with only very minor variations in their floor plans. The most unique of them was the The Hague Netherlands Temple. This temple took the floor plan from the 2 endowment room first small temple style, and then changed the stone details to make the temple look like a dignified modern building instead of an identical twin to the other small temples. Beautiful stained glass and metal elements were included that make this temple appear like a temple with 2000s architecture. The temple even has a bridge leading to the front door. I really like this temple.
Cardston Alberta Temple
The first temple started after the Salt Lake Temple was the Cardston Alberta Canada Temple. I am a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural style, and the Cardston Temple architects were as well. The temple is done in his prairie style and in plan view is a Greek cross. I like the dignity of this temple, its strength, and the uniqueness of the architecture. While being fine and decorative, it is clearly not just a neo-classical temple. The interior is filled with murals and fine woodwork. The woodwork uses woods imported from around the world. As one progresses through the temple the woodwork becomes more detailed and expensive with intricate inlays made out of rare woods. This also means that the celestial room is covered in dark woods. The sealing rooms are also covered in dark woods. This may seem odd as celestial rooms and sealing rooms are usually very white or at least light colored. Here, the finest woods and inlays are what makes these rooms the nicest, not just the color white. The Laie Hawaii Temple is by the same architects and uses a smaller version of the same floor plan. The Mesa Arizona Temple is also influenced by this temple's style.
|Cardston Alberta Temple Sealing Room|
|Cardston Alberta Temple Celestial Room|
Oakland California Temple
This temple has the distinction of being the only temple with 5 towers/spires (I actually think the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple has 5 towerss, but it is always listed as a 1 spire temple). The Oakland Temple also is unique with what appear like Asian influences. The spires have a beautiful laced gold design. Also, decorative bas relief sculptures of Christ and a stylized tree of life design (seen in the spires link) are included in this unique temple.
Mexico City Mexico Temple
The Mexico City Temple is essentially a 4 endowment room version of the Provo, Ogden, and Jordan River Temples. In this variation, ancient American architecture has been included in the precast concrete panels that cover the temple. This is done very well and keeps the temple unique while having a definite connection to the area where it was built and still being ornate.
Washington D.C. Temple
The Washington D.C. Temple was meant to echo themes from the Salt Lake Temple while at the same time being its own building. This temple is the tallest temple and the 3rd largest by square footage. I think it is an excellent modern interpretation of the Salt Lake Temple with simplified brilliant translucent white stone, ornate symbolic doors, abstract stained glass, and a commanding presence.
Jordan River Utah Temple
This is the temple I first did baptisms for the dead in and was endowed in. I was also a temple worker there and it is currently my temple (although I'm planning to move to Ogden soon). I like how the exterior takes what is essentially a box and adds this swooping pattern and inverted arches (not circular arches, but parabolic or perhaps hyperbolic arches). The abstract stained glass works as well. This temple reaches to be different and makes the box not so objectionable. The repeated vertical lines combine with the spire to give a vertical effect drawing your eyes and mind heavenward. My only complaints are that you can smell the cafeteria from the baptistery (which is kind of gross mixed with chlorine smell), the confirmation rooms look like poorly maintained closets, and there are a few other minor issues. Each of these could be fixed in a short 2 week closure or at most a month or two closure.
Provo Utah and Ogden Utah Temples
I'm including these temples on the list because they are definitely very non-traditional temples. I don't think they achieve the goal of making a building unique and better for being unique. Don't misunderstand, I like these temples, but they take some time to get used to. They are meant to symbolize a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day guiding Israel. Unfortunately they make most people think of a spaceship or a birthday cake complete with candle. The attempt was interesting, but I'm glad that the Ogden Temple is being remodeled (which is also for seismic reasons). I think the Provo Temple should also be upgraded. I wouldn't be opposed to the upgrade keeping the same basic look but using stone panels instead of cast stone and changing other details. If you could get it to work then that is fine by me. I also wouldn't mind leaving the look of Provo the same and just upgrading structural problems which I assume exist. I actually really like the Ogden and Provo temples' interiors for the most part. They are modern and sleek in a good way. I think the baptisteries could use slight improvements, but otherwise I think the interiors work.
The Bern Switzerland, Hamilton New Zealand, and London England Temples
I'd better add a few words about these temples as well. They are modern, despite having the shape of chapels with front spires. Exterior ornamentation is nearly non-existent. This takes a while to get used to. I served my mission in the England London Mission and got to go to the London England Temple 3 times. I like the temple, but understand that the exterior is plain and takes some time to get used to. For this reason I don't think these 3 temples are entirely successful in their architecture. Still, the London Temple is special to me and I like it. I also like the Bern and Hamilton Temples. The London Temple's interior was really nice. I also noticed that the London Temple's architecture doesn't try to compete with the ornate European architecture and perhaps this is good because it is hard to compare to old cathedrals. In this case, the temples end up unique at the expense of being plain.
Those are the temples I wanted to discuss. I could have talked about the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple - but it is similar to many central spire temples. I do like it a lot and enjoyed the inside. I could have discussed the L.A. temple, but I haven't been there and the exterior is a bit different. There are probably other temples I could have discussed, but then you as a reader wouldn't have anything to comment on. So please comment and tell us about unique, truly different temples that break from the traditional temple styles and architecture. Or comment on some of the temples I've discussed.