Awe is a concept central to Judaism, and awe is the feeling you get as you enter Temple Beth Elohim, a Reform synagogue in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Dubbed “the best new house of worship to have been built in the Boston area in decades” by Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell, Temple Beth Elohim is an inspiring example of how architecture can articulate spirituality and lighting design can create wonder.

“We take advantage of lighting in every form to create different moods, personal and communal,” says Judith Cannon, the temple’s director of administration and operations.”

The new synagogue features a flexible sanctuary which can accommodate up to 1000 during High Holy Days, while providing an intimate setting during weekly services. Careful visual balance and glare control within this residential context was critical. The glass sanctuary softly glows at night from a combination of layers of light. The overall appearance of the Temple at night is warm, welcoming and inspirational. State-of-the-art technologies used in the sanctuary include Philips Master Color Elite ceramic metal halide lamps, GE HIR Plus long-life energy-efficient halogen lamps and warm white LEDs.

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Source: Architectural Record
Architect: William Rawn Associates
Size: 42,000 square feet
Cost: $17 million
Honors to Date: Illumination Engineering Society (IES) – Award of Merit

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