Family members have moved recently to Clear Lake, so my wife and I have become frequent visitors. We’d known the area a number of years ago. I grew up in Houston and one of my father’s earliest residential projects was built here for the astronaut, Charlie Bassett in the 1960’s. In the 80’s, in my early career, the office worked on a church here. In the late 1990’s, we also were working with a Reformed Jewish congregation, Temple Beth Tikvah. They had purchased land and were beginning to plan for a new facility, their first permanent home.
I remember many visits and many meetings as the design for the new space developed. Another staff member managed the project while it was under construction, so though I wasn’t personally as involved in the last year or so, I also remember several final visits just before the building was completed. It’s been 15 years since I saw Temple Beth Tikvah, but as we drove past the sign at the street today, I knew I had to stop in.
The trees have grown up so the main volume is pretty much obscured from the street and parking lot. Even with a very tight budget, I remembered making sure we had a generous front porch. The porch is now the main image of the Temple’s exterior. I saw that benches were placed there indicating that people stay and spend time here on the front porch. Otherwise, things looked pretty much as they did 15 years ago.
There were a few landscape additions, a very nice sukkah, or temporary shelter off to the side. This is outdoor shelter is part of the week-long celebration of Sukkot, a festival commemorating the Israelites flight from Egypt. I was delighted to also see an inventive use of the Star of David as a landscape element. I’m looking forward to planning ahead for our next visit so I can see what creative things have been going on inside.
Temple Beth Tikvah, 12411 Park Shadows Trail, Houston, Texas.