The main sanctuary has a warm interior palette with maple panels and colored glass.
A grand stair connects the main level with the social hall below.
Contemporary details express the traditional division of men and women. Colored glass panels admit filtered light.
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Young Israel of New Rochelle
New Rochelle, New York
The Young Israel New Rochelle Synagogue creates a new place of worship for a growing Orthodox congregation in New Rochelle, New York. The challenge of accommodating the building’s program on a sloping site in a residential neighborhood has been met by a close collaboration with the congregation during the design process.

The building program creates a Beit Knesset main sanctuary and a Beit Midrash Chapel seating that provides for daily services and study. A dramatic multi-level lobby is a distinct gathering place for the congregation, linking the main sanctuary to the social hall below. The synagogue also houses several meeting and multi-purpose rooms, administrative offices and a full catering kitchen.

The building is actively used throughout the day, beginning with morning prayer in the chapel and ending with evening study sessions in the classrooms. Driving the building’s layout was the Halacha, which required the eastern orientation of both the sanctuary and the chapel so members may pray facing Jerusalem. The main sanctuary faces east and seats 600 people, which includes the side galleries and upper level balcony. This also serves to accommodate the traditional division of men and women.

Nestled into the dense residential fabric of the neighborhood, the new structure needed to both fit in with its neighbors and also be a recognizable landmark. The design of the synagogue evolved around a theme of timeless imagery, tradition and holiness. Synagogue design has not historically been bound by any architectural design parameters. As such associations are often made to both local and historical building traditions. This new synagogue reinforces the congregation’s own identity while placing it within the community. A warm interior palette is achieved through the selected use of maple panels, Jerusalem stone and the sculptural use of light.

COMPLETION

2008

SIZE

50,000 SF

PHOTOGRAPHY

Chuck Choi

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