Rhinebeck Jewish Center is getting a cheerful new green home that will be upcycled from a historic barn. Designed by Yeshaya Shor, the new synagogue will recycle wood salvaged from an existing barn, giving it new life in a community center. Coupled with green technology such as rainwater collection and passive heating and cooling, the new building will be a welcoming and green place of prayer.
The colorful community building was designed by Shor, who graduated from the Architectural Design program at The New School for Design under the guidance of Professor Peter Wheelwright. Both a synagogue and a community center, the space will be a warm place where the people of Rhinebeck can gather, socialize, learn, and pray.
The initial plan for renovating the existing 100-year-old barn on the RJC property fell through when Shor and his collaborators found the structure to be beyond repair. But rather than starting from scratch, the team decided to give the new center the spirit of the old barn, carefully disassembling it and repurposing the materials into the new project.
The new barn was designed to welcome visitors both inside and out, forming a natural courtyard that can be an used as an extension during warmer months. Overhanging eaves shade direct sunlight in summer, while radiant flooring heats in winter. Window are placed for optimal ventilation and decorative stained glass on the Eastern façade representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel adds a decorative touch. A highly insulated thermal envelope keeps temperatures comfortable inside year round.
The ambitious project not only creates a beautiful gathering place set in an idyllic forested area, but also emphasizes the feeling of warmth with modern sustainable practices that are environmentally-friendly.