Completed in 1956, Temple Beth Sholom was designed by Percival Goodman, the father of modern synagogue architecture. Goodman’s design established a formula that was followed by many synagogues to come. After half a century, the building was in dire need of refurbishing. The grand domed ceiling had become a dingy, grey cloud over the congregation, the signature colored glass windows were prone to leaking, and several past renovations had strayed from the original design intent.
PKSB worked with local architects and engineers to revitalize the original Goodman building. Beyond cosmetic improvements, PKSB researched original drawings to uncover elements of Goodman’s design that had unfortunately never come to fruition, or were modified over the years.
Existing Judaica Art was reused in a new Ark configuration that better suits the building’s open plan. The sloped floor, which had held traditional fixed pews at one time, was flattened to accommodate more flexible seating arrangements. Wheelchair accessibility was introduced by means of ramps that are fully integrated into the bema design. Broken stained glass windows were replaced with carefully selected art glass that mimics the tropical colors found in the surrounding landscape. The adjacent lobby space was reconfigured to provide a more formal entrance and a seamless connection to the 2006 addition.
This careful process of Architectural forensics yielded a design that respects the building’s past and present while looking to its future.
Location: Miami Beach, FL, US
My Role: Project Architect & Designer
Additional Credits: Henry Stolzman (PKSB) - Lead Principal in charge and Design Director
Laurie Gross (Laurie Gross Studios) - Judaic Art