Temple Israel of Long Beach

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Location
Long Beach, CA
Type
Ecclesiastical
Size
25,400 SF
Photographer
Doug Hill
Project Team
Trevor Abramson, FAIA
Douglas Teiger, AIA
Thomas Johnson, AIA
David Pascu, AIA, LEED AP
Marco Marraccini, RA
Sasha Monge, RA
William Denkinger
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A Reimagined Sanctuary

The Temple Israel project in Long Beach was a renovation of a 1940s structure that had not been touched since the 1960s when a school addition was built. The goal was to modernize the building to serve the temple and its congregation for decades to come. The design team made a great effort to honor the past by saving many important artifacts from the original building – portions of the stained glass windows, collections of Judaic artifacts, the sculpture from the main lobby, and the many Yotzheit and donor plaques.

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The building was kept intact for budget reasons, and much of the floor plan remained the same.  With these restrictions, the architects were able to craft impressive transformations.

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The spatial organization of the building was modified to improve flow.  The exterior and interior of the building were enhanced with a clean palate of materials, their evocative use adding a sophisticated quality.

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The sanctuary ceiling was reimagined as an abstract representation of the Tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl signifying shelter and comfort.  The pattern on the Tallit, an undulating rhythm of lines, inspired the detail for the ceiling.

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The sanctuary, which was isolated from the rest of the facility, became the spiritual and social heart of the building. It was reoriented to face east in honor of the Jewish tradition.  The windows were layered with a bronze sculpture that symbolically represents the tree of life as it grows from the ground towards the sky.

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