TYPE: Office, Public and Institutional
Client: Gateways & Jewish Center of Brighton Beach
2915 Ocean Parkway
The historic Jewish Center of Brighton Beach has served as a vibrant community space in multicultural South Brooklyn since the early 1950’s. As the decades have passed their community has evolved and grown, with ever-changing needs and dynamics.
The Jewish Center wanted to renovate and transform their decaying 24,000 sq ft synagogue, and adapt it to the current needs of their rapidly growing congregation. They hired Soluri Architecture to develop a preliminary design concept that would appeal to the congregation’s youth, and could be used to raise funds for the project. The design renderings needed to be attractive, capture the attention of potential donors, and convey their desired transformation into a contemporary center. This new design would allow for the expansion of their quickly growing congregation, while maintaining traditional features where possible.
The principal design concept used in the project is based on Kabalistic teachings that associate wisdom and Torah with water and rain – “causing to grow that which is in the heart of man.” To incorporate this, we conceptualized backlit walls of water to emphasize this spiritual theme and design intent. It was very important for SA to maintain and integrate the synagogue’s traditional elements with a new, contemporary design that would appeal to the growing community and the congregation’s youth.
In the final design scheme, water is collected via a rooftop rainwater collection system and channeled throughout the building to water walls located behind areas of spiritual and educational importance. This spiritual framework provides the structure for the synagogue, its library, and the many classrooms, community rooms, and lounges.