The reconfigured and renovated building serves as the communal centre of the Park Avenue Synagogue campus. Facilities and amenities added in the 65,500ft² building include welcoming community gathering areas, two new dedicated prayer spaces, and a striking double-height multipurpose room displaying, and enclosed within, modern stained-glass panels. At its centre, an intimate Minyan chapel enclosed in a sweeping, sculptural enclosure invites worshippers for daily prayer.
Other new facilities include a pre-school, a large new chapel and kiddush, a banquet space with catering kitchen, new offices and conference rooms for clergy and administration staff uses, adult education and meeting spaces, a teen lounge, music rehearsal areas and an outdoor play deck.
The completion of this major renovation follows on the heels of Park Avenue Synagogue’s opening of Eli M. Black Lifelong Learning Center, adapted from a 1912 Neo-Renaissance landmarked townhouse. It is now serving as a highly flexible educational and multi-use facility, providing learning support for a full range of ages and users.
As for the Eli M. Black Learning Center project, MBB Architects has collaborated with Chicago based architect and Judaica designer Amy Reichert to incorporate themed artwork, Jewish texts, and other liturgical installations into the 87th Street Synagogue building. These include the reinstallation of a series of historic stained glass windows created in the 1950s by American artist Adolf Gottlieb, which are displayed in the vertical niches within the interior glass stair enclosure as well as in the double-height event area.
The result of these intensive building campaigns has been "a cohesive plan for this vibrant congregation’s varied needs,” say the synagogue's leaders, adding spaces for prayer, special events, education for all ages, and support functions.
It’s a responsive urban campus for a growing faith community.
M. Burnham, FAIA, MBB partner.