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Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona

CDG Architects, Ltd.

Posted: February 27, 2019 | Projects

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona (JFSA) managed for many long years to operate out of a sprawling former residence in Tucson, Arizona. Performing administrative, educational, philanthropic, and community functions heroically in the cramped, outdated quarters, it was finally JFSA’s turn to develop a new 19,000-square-foot office building to house the JFSA, the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, and the Arizona Jewish Post.

Photo courtesy of Robin Stancliff Photography

Co-location of these organizations allows for shared administrative functions, shared use of conference and storage facilities and makes good fiscal sense for the Jewish community. The new facility is located on the Tucson Jewish Community Center (JCC) campus, which allows shared overflow parking for both buildings during events.

Frank Mascia, FAIA, of CDG Architects, wanted to make sure the Federation/Foundation facility did not become just another office building. “We were trying to find a touchstone for the Jewish community,” he said, “something respectful, defining; something that had not been done before.”

The square ceiling “tent” structure over the entrance lobby became this touchstone, symbolic of the biblical welcoming tent. Faced with unfinished wood, the ceiling is reminiscent of historic Eastern European wood synagogue structures; the subtle porcelain floor tile evokes the earthen tent floor. Jerusalem stone veneer travels from the building exterior into the lobby, appearing to be ruins of an ancient building. The wood ceiling became a fitting background for a local sculptor’s dramatic work of handcrafted glass and metal. The lobby welcomes visitors with a bold donor and message wall, works of local artists, an open reception desk, and comfortable seating. The north-facing two-story window wall endows the space with natural light and views to the mountains. The building height and exterior attributes, the landscape architecture, and outdoor lighting met rigorous requirements established for this scenic River Road location.

The construction of the building is wood frame with stucco exterior. The window frames and storefront door systems are clear anodized aluminum, giving the building a clean, sophisticated look. Roof fascia are trimmed with unfinished galvalume. Window shade boxes along the south face of the first floor are steel and are painted cobalt blue to match five security and light bollards that mark the front entry. Heating and air conditioning are provided by conventional rooftop electric heat pumps. The facility has LED lighting throughout, with specialty lighting to highlight meaningful art pieces displayed in the building. Security, a primary concern for this building, is addressed with a secure vestibule at the building entrance and card reader access doors to private areas, along with significant camera coverage at the building’s exterior perimeter.

Offices line secure corridors in wings on both floors. Natural light reaches most interior spaces through exterior windows and transom lights over doors. Small and large meeting rooms on both floors can be utilized by in-house staff, as well as outside organizations.

An event space with overflow onto a secure patio, adjacent catering kitchen, and state-of-the-art presentation systems are incorporated in the space to accommodate events of all kinds. 

The new Tucson Jewish Community Center achieves its goal of offering a touchstone for the Jewish community as a place that is respectful and defining.


Building Envelope: CEMCO, Jumbo Tex® by Fortifiber, Chemstar®, Parex
Roofing: Johns Manville
Windows: Gerkin Window & Doors, Guardian Industries
Entrances & Storefronts: United States Aluminum
Flooring: Mohawk, Patcraft, Armstrong, Daltile
Interior: Dunn Edwards, Haley Doors, Formica PLAM, Silestone, AMPCO Toilet Partitions
Lighting: Lithonia, Aculux, Windfall Outdoor, SABRE, Peerless, WAC, Luminii 
Elevators: Otis

Project Team

CDG Architects, Ltd.
2102 N. Country Club Road, #9
Tucson, AZ 85716

Structural Engineer 
Turner Structural Engineering
3026 N. Country Club Road
Tucson, AZ 85716

Mechanical Engineer
Adams & Associates Engineers, PLLC
6422 E. Speedway Boulevard, #130
Tucson, AZ 85710

Electrical Engineer
Matthews Consulting & Design, Inc.
10950 N. La Canada Drive, #9101
Oro Valley, AZ 85737

Civil Engineer
Cypress Civil Development
2030 E. Speedway Boulevard, #110
Tucson, AZ 85719

General Contractor
BFL Construction Company, Inc.
700 E. Broadway Boulevard, #200
Tucson, AZ 85719

Interior Designer
Annie Lewis
3719 N. Campbell Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85719

Location: Tucson, Arizona
Date Bid: Oct 2016
Construction Period: Jan 2017 to Sep 2017          
Total Square Feet: 19,118
Site: 3.67 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.

View full project details in magazine issue September-October 2018.