image © John Hall
Inside, visitors are greeted in a long narrow reception area, where a desk is made of Dror’s famous QuaDror architectural building blocks. A wall of decorative blue bricks displays the names of donors, and the lighting tracts on the ceiling continues to play with double meanings. The converging paths can look like the outline of a menorah or the modern grid of a subway map.
The reception area leads to a small steel and glass stairwell that overlooks the underlevel prayer room where modern LED Edison bulbs provide a soft, warm glow. Designed to accommodate services and events, the space’s elements can be adapted and moved at will. Pieces of art on the walls consist of panels that can be un-hung and made into more chairs and tables, and the comfortable plush couches are suitable both as prayer benches and event seating.
image © John Hall
The main focus of the prayer room is the beautiful, yet untraditionally designed, Torah arc at the center of the space. The arc has an “unusual round shape made of overlapping circles that slide open and close, each of which holds one of the triangles that form the star of David when slide-closed on top of one another. Fashion designer Yigal Azrouel selected and wrapped the fabric on the Torah arc. This interpretation of the religious element conducts Dror’s consistent sensitivity for transformation and motion in objects of our living environments.”
The prayer room walls were stripped bare to expose the brick walls, giving the space a raw, industrial feel. Dror used seven of the brick floor joist squares that were revealed to create a menorah fresco. By reusing original architectural elements, Dror pays homage to the building’s history and display elements of the original design.
All photos © John Hall