Temple Israel Early Childhood Center

The expansion of this 1980s building was planned not only to add more room but also to create spaces to transform educational programs and gatherings.

A highlight of the new space, “The Bridge,” is a 20-foot clerestory surrounding a playground area and a connecting component between eight new specialized classrooms and the existing temple structure. Acting as a gateway to the new Early Learning Center, the area incorporates a learning “pit” where small groups can gather for a lesson or presentation and where little ones can explore and create on an interactive light wall.

A “Dino” clubhouse offers multiple facets of climbing, movement, and physical activity options and features a glass floor with views to the hallway below. Lego and STEM walls also stimulate and encourage creativity. Other unique spaces include a teaching greenhouse for planting and harvesting produce as well as a learning kitchen with lower counters to facilitate cooking and baking sessions with children, their parents and grandparents.

The new building exterior matches the aesthetic of the existing structure, with the clerestory designed to emphasize the day-lighted environment with extra protective features for children who will use the space. Inside, the corridors are lined with colorful features, including a patterned carpet specially designed for the congregation.

Project Data

Location: West Bloomfield, Michigan

Type: Addition

Size: 12,000 SF

Cost: $4.5 Million

Date Opened: 2020

Design Team: James Seaman, Ellen Duff, Mike Yager, and Danielle Weitzman