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March 2020


Bowdoin Construction Corp.


Temple Beth Avodah


Newton, MA

Located in a bucolic residential neighborhood in Newton, Massachusetts, Temple Beth Avodah recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. In order to mark that occasion as well as honor the Rabbi's 20th year leading the congregation, a strategic planning initiative was formed to chart a course of action ensuring that the future needs and goals of the congregation were met through three core aspects of temple life: spiritual, educational, and social. A central intent emerged that would have the temple act as a "hub" in the lives of its members. To accomplish this goal, a wish list was developed with an eye  towards the original building's limitations. In addition to new spaces, it was strongly felt that the existing interior appeared tired and dated. The defined set of goals along with the deficiencies noted in the strategic plan included: (1) a lack of social gathering areas for chance encounters to meet and more public seating desired, (2) a need for a smaller multi-use sanctuary for intimate services (e.g. funerals, summer services) as well as lectures/performances for up to seventy persons versus the main sanctuary fixed seating that accommodates over two hundred, (3) the need to create an appropriately sized board room, (4) desire to create a new meeting cafe with cooking capabilities, (5) a wish to develop a brighter open entry lobby area with better direct visual and physical connection to the beautiful setting, (6) locate the sizable coat closet in a convenient tough less prominent location relative to the main entry, and (7) wish for a renovation to the main sanctuary and social halls in terms of new finishes, brighter energy efficient lighting, and improved quality of the movable wall systems that divide the social halls from the main sanctuary.


The Temple Beth Avodah congregation is composed of warm, openhearted, members. All participants involved with the project understood that the final design as well as the process should mirror and enhance that love of community. To this end, along with weekly task force committee meetings, there were opportunities for all members to express individual wishes directly to the project designers. The design team frequently updates the community with three-dimensional walk throughs of the envisioned project. The new addition is 1,230 SF of a total floor area of 17,000 SF (new and renovated).The project was completed at a total cost of 2.5 million dollars.

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