A major reconstruction and addition of a classic 1960's synagogue, to bring it into the 21st Century. This project involved the restoration of a few select elements of the building, and modernization of everything else, in order to create a modern, welcoming space.
WFM Staff · September 26, 2017
This major reconstruction and addition to a mid-century synagogue involved complete gut renovation of the existing portions of the building, and addition of about 75% more square footage.
The new, grand central rotunda and chapel are the primary spaces added, and the centerpieces of the project. Added square footage also includes a “Beit Midrash” (Library), large meeting room, and a new restroom core.
The re-organization of building circulation and various functions (Broadly categorized as Education, Administration, Worship, Entertainment, and Public gathering) dramatically improves traffic flow and now can handle much larger groups for events/weddings/Bar Mitzvot and other gatherings.
Totaling about 22,000 square feet, the existing portions of the building have been fully re-programmed and redesigned with support functions to the worship spaces, including a new commercial Glatt kosher kitchen, significantly revised office and school functions, and substantial amount of new outdoor patios and covered spaces for ritual observances.
The main sanctuary was stripped, and redesigned. A major complaint was the horrible lighting, so an entirely new system was designed, using exclusively indirect lighting. Only the existing main Ark was retained (in deference to nostalgic and historic considerations) but veneered and altered to provide harmony with the rest of the space. One of the only “Live Flame Ner Tamids” (“Eternal Light of G-D”) in the country was approved based on complex and special fire department requirements. In the chapel, a magnificent set of ark doors was created by a midwest based fine woodworker and glassblower.
Additional elements include 18 arched flying glulaminated beams, extensive custom art glass, and use of Travertine stone throughout the design that also ties thematically to the main entry signature wall, quarried about 50 miles east of Jerusalem. The main rotunda features backlit “hero panels” honoring important people in Jewish history through the ages until today.
A special touch was added specifically to delight the children: prisms embedded in the 50 foot diameter skylight that cast rainbows in unexpected and random ways and different times throughout the year. The conical shaped Mercaz roof creates a “whisper” reverberation and a tiny “jewel” at the center of the space identifies the location to stand and hear yourself whisper. and hear yourself whisper.