Design Tour: Temple Sinai

Saturday, February 8, 2014
Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St, Oakland, CA 94609
$5 AIA Members and employees of chapter-member firms; $10 Non-members
All are welcome; please click here to reserve a space.
1.5 CES Lus

Architect: Mark Horton Architecture & Michael Harris Architecture
Photographer: Ethan Kaplan

The first AIA East Bay Design Tour of 2014 is of the design-award winning Temple Sinai, by Mark Horton Architecture and Michael Harris Architecture.

Temple Sinai, the oldest and largest Jewish synagogue in the East Bay, grew up around their 1918 historical sanctuary with a variety of randomly collected additions built over the years.  To paraphrase an apt quote, “there was no there there.”

The temple’s new building program—a chapel, classrooms, a preschool, offices, and a library—were organized in a manner to foster interaction among the congregants so that a sense of community could be reinforced.

Jewish traditions were integrated into the design, including the chapel which wraps the worshiper like a prayer shawl, or tallit, the windows of the chapel with their Hebrew text, and the main circulation spine which recalls the western wall of Jerusalem. LEED certification reinforced the Jewish tradition of tikkum olam, or “repairing the world.”

2013 AIA East Bay Design Awards Jury Comments: “There is an interesting mix of elegance and buoyancy to this design, which integrates quite well with the existing structure.”

Learning Objectives:

1. Attendees learned Temple Sinai uses landscape and in-ground filters to treat storm-water run-off. Storm-water in Oakland is otherwise untreated and flows to Lake Merritt and then on to the Bay

2. Attendees learned a change from drilled piers to mat slab foundation saved the project $100K

3. Along the tour, Michael noted design features specific to the Jewish faith including the main wall made of Jerusalem stone that is the same length as the wailing wall, and the ark for torah scrolls in the new sanctuary.

4.  Attendees learned Fire rated doors and walls separate the project into new, upgraded and existing (un-changed) areas with respect to code so that a full upgrade of fire sprinkler systems would not be required.

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