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The Kol Emeth Synagogue Center is a Jewish center of worship, housing sanctuary, courtyards, and social halls located in Palo Alto. The architecture of the building connects with the outside world with a variety of apertures that connect the community with the exterior nature. 

There is a wood screen lattice walls are angled precisely to allow a certain exposure of natural daylight to bleed into the building via the low west sun of the climate, allowing a sensitivity of illuminance to optimize the visual comfort of the space. Additionally, the angled wood panels allow for an open ceiling that creates an impression of exterior nature into interior space. With the elements of the radiant walls and ceilings, in addition to the photovoltaic wooden panels, this synagogue center achieves a net zero rating. 

The synagogue also had religious requirements where on certain days the lights had to be functioning by itself over the weekend allowing the lighting to be programmed automatically without occupancy response sensors. The architecture approach required a series of lights to be used such as uplights to illuminate the wooden ceiling and the vertical slats, the downlights that are integrated between the wooden slats on the ceiling to allow for reading below, track fixtures to light up the stage, and wall washers and column highlighters to emphasize the architectural structures. 

The open architecture has clerestories, a large glass wall in the back, and several ceiling apertures which the lighting integrates into to allow for an active daylight dimming system. Daylight dimming can easily control the illuminance of the room without human engagement, as well as provide high energy savings. 


Field Architecture
Hawley Peterson Snyder Architects

Palo Alto, CA

Under Construction
AIA Santa Clara Citation Award for Unbuilt Architecture, 2016