In the 1940s, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s post-war “organic architecture”, Alfred Browning Parker was at the forefront of Miami’s “modern is regional” design movement. Wright’s influence can be found in many of Parker’s designs, including the Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach, FL. Constructed in 1970, it blends Wright-inspired features with a several-stories-high, nautilus shell-shaped structure that forms the ceiling of the temple’s sanctuary.
Originally, the exterior of the shell roof form was wrapped with asphalt shingles. But hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 left it badly damaged. Temporary patching with a self-adhesive membrane bought temple officials the time needed to seek out expert advice on how best to repair the structure.
Offering up a sound solution was Knopf & Associates of Riviera Beach, FL, Palm Beach County’s oldest full-service roofing consultant. The firm suggested recovering the shell with standing seam metal panels and furthermore recommended the Series 1300 system from Englert Inc., Perth Amboy, NJ. To ensure the panels would endure in South Florida’s salt air environment, the panels were formed from Copper Metallic-coated aluminum rather than steel.
Total Roofing Systems of Port St. Lucie, FL was contracted to strip away the old membrane patch and install the new curved metal panels over the top of the original shingle roof, creating an exciting new look without veering too far from Parker’s original design. Unlike most standing seam roofs which are sloped, The Temple Beth El roof was stepped with each platform of vertical standing seam interlocked with the next until it took the complete configuration of a nautilus shell.