Rewriting Wright's Synagogue with a Touch of Green

Light defines Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom synagogue in the Philadelphia suburb of Elkins Park. Even on a rainy day the inside of this temple seems bright. Daylight streams through its transparent ceiling, as if from the heavens, into the “house of peace” (Beth Sholom in English) . The pyramid-shaped structure, built high on a hill in the 1950s, is a National Historic Landmark, so changes to the temple pose a challenge. (Most of Wright’s original brown Naugahyde seats have remained untouched, for example.) But gradually and discreetly, Beth Sholom has been greening the six-sided sanctuary and adjacent visitor’s center. To augment the abundance of natural light, and at the same time save

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