Masonic Temple Space Requirements


"In architecture, form follows function" - Walter Gropius, FAIA, Freemason


Karl W. Grube, Ph.D.


Masonic Temple Specifications


Masonic Temple Specifications are written to form the basis for an architect’s design.  The more detailed the written specifications, the better the architect can bring forth design solutions that meet or exceed  the clients expectations. A well written Masonic Program of space needs allows for the highest level of creative design - an artistic statement of Masonic philosophy and values.   


SPACE REQUIREMENTS - 7,200 sq. ft. of finished off space.  3,600 sq. ft. on each of 4 levels – lower, 1st, 2nd, roof. Space requirements are for individual Body useage.  

Tenants include Blue Lodges, Commandery, Chapter, Council, Library


1ST FLOOR – (3,600 sq. ft. total)

Bonisteel Masonic Library/ Social Lounge/Kitchenette/Computer/media based library. 30' x 48’ (1,400 sq. ft.)  (No formal dining room or kitchen)

Function: Library & Lounge Environ


Office Space for Bodies - (864 sq. ft.)

AAMT 12' x 18'- (216 sq. ft.)

York Rite 12' x 18' (216 sq. ft.)

Ann Arbor Fraternity Lodge No. 262 - 12' x 12' (144 sq. ft.)_

Golden Rule Lodge No. 159  - 12' x 12' (144 sq. ft.)

_______ Lodge No. ___ 12’ x 12’ (144 sq. ft.)

Function: Working Space for Officers of Bodies


Grand Temple Foyer (lobby), corridor, elevator, staircase spaces – 12 ft high ceiling. Study the details in the photographs and sketches of the Detroit Masonic Temple Lobby, Grand Rapids Masonic Temple, 4th Avenue Ann Arbor Masonic Temple.  Ref. - History of Michigan Freemasonry Volumes I & II

Function: Makes a statement of Masonic image & values


Washrooms 2 @ 288 sq. ft. 12’ x 24’  (567 sq. ft.) – meet handicap/plumbing codes.  Recessed storage spaces,  (one) 2’ x 3’ x 6’ to be installed in wall.   All washroom cleaning materials and equipment are to be kept in wash rooms. Tub sink for cleaning washroom on 1st floor. Ventilation – fresh and recycled air.

Function: Adequate for member demand and plumbing code


2ND FLOOR – (3,600 sq. ft. total)

Lodge Room - no exterior windows - skylight over altar, 16 ft. ceiling for balcony space and roof top storage. Blue Lodge Room - East-West Orientation 64’ x 32' (2,048 sq. ft.) East Stage, Masters level storage 30’ x 24' (720 sq. ft.)  Flooring – patterns reflect ritual. (tiles) Ref. - Egyptian Temple design standards.

Function:  Architectural details illuminate Degree Rituals



Ante Room - built in book shelves, media, display cases  

Candidates/Tyler’s Meditation Room 8' x 8'  (64 sq. ft.)

Symbolic Tyler's Walk – ritual function, wall hanging interior Corridor- 4’ width.

Function:  Guard duty and staging area for entry into lodge


Washrooms 2 @ 288 sq. ft. 12’ x 24’ (567 sq. ft.) – meet handicap/plumbing codes.  Recessed storage spaces,  (one) 2’ x 3’ x 6’ to be installed in wall.   All washroom cleaning materials and equipment are to be kept in wash rooms. Tub sink for cleaning washroom on 2nd floor. Ventilation - fresh and recycled air.

Function: Adequate for member demand and plumbing code


LOWER LEVEL - (3,600 sq. ft. total) Lower Level – storage for the Bodies, HVAC furnace mechanical 200 sq. ft. , Ritual Costume lockers 650 sq. ft. , Plumbing and wiring stubbed into lower level for future Kitchen. Washroom, laundry tub, toilet. Drywall storage rooms, shelving for records, Library artifact conservation room, Landscape tools and equipment storage.

Function: Practical storage area, optimizes space




BUILDING ORIENTATION:  The Temple should be closest to the water retention pond.  This will allow for the maximum use of outdoor space and highest degree of visual aesthetics. The Temple must be oriented due East. The building envelop should capture the morning SE rising sun’s rays and optimize solar gain. 


EXTERIOR  - Three Tier Step Masonic Entrance on East - Tilers Quarters 9' x 9'(81 sq. ft.) i.e. Detroit Masonic Temple Auditorium Entrance; Two Tier Step Masonic Entrance on West - i.e. Detroit Masonic Temple Scottish Rite Entrance; recommended detailing of exterior facade to be similar to 327 4TH Avenue Masonic Temple and/or Detroit Masonic Temple.


LANDSCAPE – site plan with Masonic garden design to complement the building fascade. Meditation gardens, Picnic shelter, brick walkways, plant material to be indigious to Michigan.



ROOF – garden roof access - space to be used for occasional outdoor lodge activities. Additional roof bracing and selection of materials that will take wear are necessary.  i.e. possible uses - military degree presentations, outdoor seminars, astronomy viewing as related to the Masonic custom. (3,600 sq. ft. of additional space)  Consult Egyptian design standards.


HVAC Utilities Room & Storage - Basement - 90' x 45 EST. - unisex/handicap washroom. Design zone heating, cooling and ventilation. Cost out differences between radiant and convection heating systems both installation and operation.  Cooling should use natural wall channels and orientation of differentiated insulation packages. i.e. more insulation on the West to keep out heat gain; more insulation on North for cold wind fenestration. Solar calculations for all surfaces of the building envelop are required.  Window placement and natural lighting are to be oriented to maximize advantages. ie. Southeast facing windows – morning solar gain North facing windows for diffused light, South facing windows for direct sunlight gain


CEILINGS - 8 f. offices, 12 ft. Grand Foyer, 16 ft. Lodge Roof Ventilation Skylight  – directly in center of Lodge over altar. Starlight effect into the lodge.  Sidelines: on the level for members; JW 1-step station; SW 2-step station; M 3-step station


SPECIFICATIONS – electrical, acoustics, color, interior design, lighting, media, HVAC etc.- detailed reports need to be written on each SPACE within the 7,200 sq. ft. structure and 1 acre site.  (Research and Writing Committees are a good way to get the "Brothers" involved in the design  development process of the Temple)


BLDG - Building Envelop - 3,600 sq. ft. each level (90' x 45’EST.)  As positioned on Smith Group JJR site plan nearest the water resevior  -  (Use an Oblong Square or two squares side by side as designated building envelop – (ie. 96’ x 48 ft.- includes East and West entrances)


PICNIC SHELTER AREA – designed within walking distance of the Temple. Located on the banks of the water holding reservoir.  (Trabert Park)  



Note:  Ann Arbor Masonic Temple space requirements were developed for the Smith Group JJR Ann Arbor Masonic Temple site plan;  "Suggested Plans for Masonic Temples" The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Michigan (1973-74); from blueprints, Detroit Masonic Temple, George D. Mason Company, Architects & Engineers, Inc. (1920-1921; and the Ann Arbor Masonic Temple, 327 S. 4th Avenue blueprints from the City of Ann Arbor Engineering Department storage vault.  



Karl W. Grube, Sec. AAMTB

2875 W. Liberty Road

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

734-996-0121 – office







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