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Congregation Emanu El Temple

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1949, MacKie and Kamrath and Lenard Gabert. 1500 Sunset Blvd.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )

Temple Emanu El contains one of the most spiritually moving worship spaces in Houston. MacKie and Kamrath's use of external symmetry to organize the temple complex and the dexterous way in which they subdivided the interior to provide both worship space and an adjoining community hall are impressive. It is, however, their orchestration of space and light in the worship space that is so spiritually elevating. The floor slopes down as the roof rises and windows inset beneath the rising eaves admit daylight and views of the sky.

Across the street from Emanu El is the First Christian Church of 1958 by Brown and McKim at 1600 Sunset Boulevard. The high-ceilinged nave is walled with glass but sheltered beneath a tall, solid roof. Brick screen walls outside the nave prevent passing traffic from distracting worshippers. Substantial but deferential additions along Cherokee Street were made by Merriman Holt Architects in 2005.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Congregation Emanu El Temple", [Houston, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 344-344.

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