Synagogue handed over to Ulm by KSG
Just last weekend, Kister Scheithauer Gross architects and urban planners (ksg) handed over the synagogue to the Jewish community of Ulm. The synagogue is now been located in the middle of the Weinhof, very close to the former synagogue which was destroyed during Kristallnacht.
In 2009, the Israelite Religious Community in Württemberg (IRGW) decided to build a new synagogue for its orthodox community in Ulm and, together with the city of Ulm, initiated a competition. "The team from Cologne succeeded in enriching this highly sensitive location in the city of Ulm, without detracting from its unique character," said the city's head of construction, Alexander Wetzig, following the jury's decision in January 2010.
In addition to the Synagogue, the building also functions as a community centre which is another key element to the unique characteristics of Ulm. The synagogue and the Jewish community have lost their ancestral place in the centre of Ulm.
The construction of the current synagogue has opened up a new site, in the middle of the square. "It is as though the synagogue has taken a step forward from its former location, reclaiming its place in the city. With no constructed borders, it stands abrupt and solitary on the Weinhof," explains Prof. Susanne Gross regarding the urban building concept.
The building's most distinctive feature is the large window with the Star of David pattern across which is orientated to indicate the direction of Jerusalem. Only the synagogue space follows the line of the single, free-standing support in the building, in a diagonal direction. The synagogue and the Jewish community centre are included in one single structure. The compact cuboid is free-standing in the square. This position is historical: in the Kristallnacht in 1938, the former synagogue, which was enclosed kister schei thauer gross
All the spaces of the community centre and the synagogue are joined in the smooth structure: foyer, synagogue, Mikvah (ritual bath), meeting hall, school and administrative rooms as well as the child day care centre with an enclosed outdoor playing area, which is directly above the sacral room.
The diagonal room layout creates a corner window in the sacral room, which plays with a pattern of the Star of David as a space framework. With 600 openings, the synagogue is illuminated from many points, with the focal point being the liturgical centrepiece; the Torah shrine. The perforations in the façade created with a high-pressure water jet, illuminate the shrine inside and project the idea of the synagogue outwards.
The interior fittings of the synagogue are partially based on ksg plans, such as the dodecagon holder, a symbol for the twelve lines of the people of Israel. Rabbi Shneur Trebnik, together with the IRGW representatives, selected the seating and ordered the construction of the Torah shrine, including the bimah, a raised platform with a lectern, from which the Torah is dictated. All three elements were constructed in Israel.