BKSK Architects

New York, New York

The plan for the new sanctuary is circular, defined by a wooden fin wall that speaks to individuals making a collective whole. The visible craft in the materiality and details throughout is a reference to the word Habonim, which means “the Builders.” The curved wall draws one around to the sanctuary entrance. The floor shifts from continuous terrazzo to carpet and the wall material palette layers to include an artist-designed, woven fabric wall covering, embroidered with a Hebrew quote.

The focus of the sanctuary is on the east-facing ark, framed by articulated wood and bronze elements. Twelve unique texture bronze strips add a level of detail to the door, reminding one of the Twelve Tribes. The chapel is a smaller, flexible sacred space and includes a reworking of the stained glass from the congregation’s previous 66th Street home. The wall opposite opens to a Meditation Garden serving as a background to the Ark that brings nature into the Chapel and provides outdoor contemplative space.

The new 30,000-square-foot space allows 300 congregants to worship. Community spaces complete the program, including classrooms, informal gathering spaces, an event space, and offices. The new home celebrates the past, present, and future of this active congregation.

Jury Comments

A thoughtful use of materials and how they converse with each other–the architecture aids in that dialogue. There is a delightful use of light and show in the interior in the way the wall judiciously modulates light. The redesigned space incorporates glass from an earlier worship space and a connection to the congregation’s history.

Project Team Members

Joan Krevlin FAIA, Partner, BKSK Architects
Marcel Perez-Pirio, Interior Architect, BKSK Architects

Project Consultants

Tillotson Design Associates, Lighting
MTWTF, Graphic Designer
GEA Consulting Engineers, MEP Engineer
Future Green Studio, Landscape Architecture