Temple Kol Ami

Thornhill, Ontario



Larkin Architect Limited was given the challenging task of transforming an internalized, windowless, painted cinder block chapel and its adjacent sports gymnasium into sacred space, all within the confines of a modest budget. The mandate was to infuse the space with “light and height” while respecting the constraints of the surrounding structure.

Our first move was to clad the original chapel walls in overlapping hickory wood panels, drawing visual attention towards the wood and marble clad platform, reading table, and ark. Secondly, an abandoned skylight was resurrected to attract “heavenly” light from above deep into the interior space which is then further animated by the hanging “shards of glass” that reference the creation narrative and serve as a beacon from the gymnasium. Huge pivoting doors provide different spatial configurations for special services and increased seating capacity for High Holy Days.