Temple Beth El synagogue and school   Orange County, CA       Temple Beth El in South Orange County sits on a 5 acre site in an industrial office park. The 2-story, 68,000 square foot building was originally the national headquarters and central call center for a high-tech security company.

On an extremely modest budget this square, unfeeling building with its long enclosed corridors and windowless rooms was transformed into a spiritual city of schools, prayer spaces, meeting rooms and recreational activities. An archway of Jerusalem stone provides entrance to the building. Breaking out of the "box" was accomplished with the use of angled corridors, arched passageways, skylights and interior windows. A diagonal staircase culminates in a sun-filled rotunda providing a lobby and gathering space for the temple's second floor sanctuary and assembly rooms.

The interior streets are a modern metaphor of the narrow sidewalks, covered passageways, and small interior plazas found in the old city of Jerusalem.

The addition of outdoor playgrounds and biblical gardens softens the edge of the large, square building. A grove of trees will eventually cover the surrounding asphalt parking lot, which had previously accommodated 800 employees on three 8-hour shifts , to complete the recycling.