The Temple of Israel expansion features a new lobby with oversized glass lites inviting natural daylighting with views into the new courtyard.

Empirehouse was awarded the Architectural Glass and Metal contract for the Temple of Israel expansion project by Mortenson Construction and work with HGA Architects Joan Sorrano and John Cook. Empirehouse has worked with Joan and John on other premiere projects as the Walker Art Center Vineland Place Entrance and CaféLakewood Garden Mausoleum, American Swedish Institute: Nelson Cultural Center, and the Hazelden Betty Ford Center. Weekly enclosure meetings with Empirehouse, HGA and Mortenson identified sequence detailing.

Temple Israel“The cleanly minimalist, sensitively scaled and light-filled addition is designed by the award-winning husband-and-wife team of Joan Soranno and John Cook of HGA. …As the addition’s most dramatic space, this new lobby/reception area spans nearly 7,000 square feet, with dramatically angled floor-to-ceiling windows facing south to the courtyard and skinnier glass panes of irregular widths overlooking the parking lot” (StarTribune, Streetscapes: Temple Israel in Minneapolis gets contemporary addition for preschool, Hebrew classes and events). Story: StarTribune»

“We wanted to bring them into the light,” says HGA Architect Joan Soranno. “It’s transformed the way they gather, celebrate, and mourn” (Architecture MN, Temple Israel). Story: AIA-MN»

Aluminum System, Glass and Glazing Scope:

  • Aluminum curtainwall system structural glazed with heavy-tempered, heat-strengthened, laminated, and custom ceramic spandrel frit glass lites. Oversized glass lites as large as 68″ x 130.”
  • Ellison Bronze balanced door.

Project Gallery: (Click to enlarge)

Temple Israel
Owner: Temple Israel
Glazing Contractor: Empirehouse, Inc.
General Contractor: Mortenson Construction
Architect: HGA Architects & Engineers
Total Glass Area: Approx. 7,624 square feet
Completed: September 2016


Pre-glazing glass lites into curtainwall frames became an innovative idea to save time. Instead of setting up scaffolding twice to install frames and glass separately, scaffolding was set up once for pre-glazed curtainwall unit installation using a JLG Lift and Crane.

Installing pre-glazed units with a crane and lift

Installing pre-glazed units with a crane and lift.

Temple Israel oversized glass lite

It takes a Team of Empirehouse Glaziers to install the oversized glass lites by hand. Logistics of an over hang and soft ground prevented the use of a crane and lift.