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Culture

Park Avenue Synagogue

The design process for this renovation began with a campus-wide master plan for the growing Park Avenue Synagogue community, establishing a program for their 87th Street Synagogue House in tandem with a newly acquired building on 89th Street. This provided a cohesive plan for the congregation’s varied needs, incorporating spaces for prayer, special events, education for all ages, and support functions including offices and a catering kitchen.

The 87th Street Synagogue House, originally built in 1927 and added onto in 1954 and then again in 1980, is the heart of the Park Avenue Synagogue campus. This 6-story, 65,500-square-foot building renovation focused on creating welcoming community spaces for this vibrant and growing congregation to gather. Program space on the ground floor is maximized to allow informal gathering spaces. A double height window visually connects the ground floor to a large event space below. Another double height window visually connects to clergy and staff offices located on the second floor, creating a dynamic and unified entry. Within the new lobby, an intimate Minyan chapel is designed as a sculptural object inviting daily prayer. The redesigned lobby also provides a formal entry sequence to the main historic sanctuary. Decorative elements at the Minyan chapel and the sanctuary entrance draw on decorative motifs from the historic sanctuary.

Redesigned circulation includes a glassy stair off the lobby with materials and detailing that are consistent with the stair MBB recently designed for Park Avenue Synagogue’s Center for Lifelong Learning at 89th Street. Similar details include a vertical niche housing an installation of historic stained glassed windows created by the American artist Adolf Gottlieb for Park Avenue Synagogue during the 1950s. The installation creates a visual connection to Park Avenue Synagogue’s new, recently completed building and honors the synagogue’s rich history.

Within the new lobby, an intimate Minyan chapel is designed as a sculptural object inviting daily prayer.

Select Publications & Interviews

  • AIA New York | October 2018“In the News”