A powerful transformation

Friday 04 Jun 2010

Former electrical substation undergoes an unlikely conversion into a synagogue

The 1922-founded building was designed for the electricity company 'Elektrizitätswerk Südwest AG'. Its use as a voltage transformer station and later as a laboratory for street illumination and has nothing in common with the today's aim of use. The building was bought by a Jewish society in 2004 and is now being rebuilt and provided to the Jewish-orthodox society 'Chabad Lubawitsch' for the next 99 years.

The cladding remains mostly the way it is, simply a representative entrance will be established to the side of the street. The primal transformer hall is altered into an orthodox synagogue and the basement is set up for a traditional Jewish ritual bath, the Mikwe. Seminar rooms, a library, a room for children's service, a café and a festival room with attached kosher kitchen offer room for miscellaneous religious and cultural events of the community members and their visitors from all around the world.

The entrance hall is connected upstream to the prayer area and impresses by its furniture, composed of organic solitaires, as independent lounge. The wall between synagogue and foyer was disguised with monolithic sandstone plates similarly of the Jerusalem Wailing Wall.

The synagogue, a high hall, in itself resting, forms the mentally and the cultural center of the plant. The hall appears compactly in spite of its horizontal fluent structures, certainly by the dark, room-high, wooden paneling. In their composition appears the three storey hall in balance, whose roof structure is carried by a single pillar, asymmetrically standing. Functional elements, like the shrine for the Thora roles and the gallery in the upper floor, separately available for women, grows out of the wall. The gently curved gallery is arranged in a distance to the round pillar and the walls to avoid that the room is divided in horizontal areas.

The synagogue hall is lighted on the one hand over a oval roof-light, which symbolises the spiritual connection between the believers and the divine instance and on the other hand they become illuminated over the into walls inserted narrow lights, which makes an at the same time warm and solemn tendency in the hall and stands in dialogue to the dark wood of the walnut and the deep red of the upholstered seats.

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team
  • Architectural CAD Technician

    Architectural CAD Technician Reference: KOIPS4E65YU Location: Ipswich Salary: Competitive based on experience A successful Architectural practice, ...
    • Penguin Recruitment Architecture
    • Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Planning Strategy and Policy Manager

    This post is responsible for leading the council’s planning strategy and policy team to maintain an up-to-date planning policy framework.
    • London Borough of Lambeth
    • Lambeth, London (Greater)
  • Planner / Senior Planner

    We have an exciting opportunity with our established planning team, working on a diverse range of projects.
    • Pro Vision
    • Ampfield, Hampshire
  • Enforcement Officer - North East - outside IR35

    A Local Authority in the North East are looking for an Enforcement Officer to assist them with a backlog of cases for an initial contract of 6 months,
    • Oyster Partnership
    • North East England
  • Head of Planning

    Do you have the vision to make Suffolk an even better place to live and work, and the skills to make it happen?
    • Suffolk County Council
    • Suffolk