Temple Expansion for Growing Community

After nearly doubling the size of its congregation over 20 years, Temple Beth Shalom had outgrown its existing facility, where 800 families gather regularly to socialize, learn, and worship. With a full schedule of activities seven days a week, the temple needed a new space that could keep pace with its vibrant and vital congregation.

To help create that space, the temple, with guidance from owner’s representative Fort Point Project Management, selected BKA Architects and Chapman to design and build a 30,000 sf addition to their existing building, in Needham, MA.

To make way for construction, the temple had to move its Children’s Center, which operates year round, to multiple locations off-site. It also had to hire more teachers than would ultimately be required to staff the center when it returned to a single building. That, coupled with the short-term leases on these temporary quarters, imposed an aggressive finish date on construction that simply could not be missed.

Rather than wait for the design of the building to be completed before hiring a contractor, the temple engaged Chapman as the construction manager to provide pre-construction services as the design was unfolding and to begin construction even before the design was complete. Under the construction management model of project delivery, the contractor joins the project team well before construction starts in a collaborative effort with the architect to design a building that meets both the client’s needs and budget.

As a result of this collaboration and the early start, the building was finished on time. On the first day of school, pupils were greeted by a welcoming glass facade that invited them inside. The dramatic angles of the entrance are softened by the exterior finishes, which are wood and Jerusalem stone imported from Israel. Inside the building, the lobby is illuminated by natural light that penetrates to the reading room below through a glass floor into which is etched the Tree of Life.

In addition to classrooms the new building also houses the temple’s administrative offices, beit midrash study hall, and community court, where congregants gather and can relax in comfortable seating areas.

Click here to see more photos of Temple Beth Shalom.

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