Southern Brookline Community Center, Temple Emeth

Richmond & Goldberg, 1947

Harleston Parker Medal, 1949

Broken down into four blocky white wings with rectangular windows, this temple is unusually modest for a Harlston Parker medalist – except for one brilliant moment with high architectural and spiritual aspirations. At a bend in the building a circular arcade emerges, forming a perfectly scaled courtyard that ties building and site together. It is a vision of tranquility overlooking a busy intersection, created through absolutely minimal means. Cascading stairs reach out to the street, a specimen tree rises from the center of the architectural halo, and the remainder of the complex remains in the background.

Recent renovations have raised ceilings, brightened hallways, increased handicapped accessibility and upgraded roof and air-conditioning systems, with additional renovations to come. The relative austerity of the forms has allowed the temple to be adapted over time with minimal impact on its defining elements.

Image: Temple Emeth