The St. Damien of Molokai church was constructed on the remote island of Molokai, in honor of the Belgian priest who cared for Hansen's disease patients. It is located where the former St. Sophia Church burned down, and it doubles the capacity of the former facility, with new multipurpose spaces, classrooms, restrooms, and parking. The design is a modern/utilitarian evolution of the traditional architecture of churches, with an elevated sanctuary, high vaulted ceiling, narrow pointed arch openings, and a bell tower.
The client decided to use concrete tilt-up construction to achieve the rounded arches traditionally seen in churches. The narrow jobsite, consisting of only 3,000 square feet of useable slab surface area, required almost 6,000 square feet of tilt-up panels to be cast and stacked on top of one another. Unlike the simple squares of big box structures, the unusual geometry of the church’s panels required extra effort in creating the formwork, including building decking to support larger pieces that were required early in the erection sequence. Nordic PCL partially used engineered form lumber to increase productivity of the tilt-up formwork process.
This was the first free-standing building completed by Nordic PCL's Special Projects division, and is the island’s first tilt-up building.