Reunion with the Natural World
Beth Israel Memorial Chapel
Outdoors in Houston
On the ceremonial occasion of a funeral, Beth Israel Chapel offers a rare, dignified encounter with the natural world – weather, seasons, the passage of time, breezes, birdsong. Sophisticated passive design techniques create a comfortable outdoor shelter and a tranquil sanctuary in Houston’s harsh heat and humidity.
A Complete Environmental Work
The design uses the principle of an “ice house roof,” two layers of light metal membrane with an interstitial air-space to capture prevailing breezes and lower ambient temperature. Acoustic design muffles and masks the sounds of a nearby freeway. Architectural features intensify the experience of rainfall and changing light.
“… a poetic building and landscape designed to … elicit understanding of God’s world through the senses and the mind. Even as they entrust a loved one to the earth, friends and relatives feel more alive as they occupy this cultivated work.” - Joseph Giovannini, Architecture Magazine