Stanley Saitowitz / Natoma Architects : Center for Jewish Life

Hidden behind a coating of red brick typical of the region, the Center for Jewish Life takes place on the campus of Drexel University in Philadelphia (USA). Designed by architect Stanley Saitowitz agency Notma Architects based in San Francisco, the building was conducted in order to gather a community through meetings, learning sessions and ceremonies.

The building almost 1 300 square meters is built on the model of the menorah, Ritual candelabra with nine candles, symbol of the creation myth. The various activities of the Center are arranged there on three levels, the basement is used for kitchens, storages and technical areas.

The ground floor is dedicated to community action and everyday life. The space is organized so as to facilitate meetings and conversations with sofas placed face to face and large bay windows, associated with wood paneling and wall coverings, creating a warm place conducive to discussion. Also in order to develop communication between people are an amphitheater and auditorium located at the same level. A wooden staircase, positioned in the center of the frame connects meanwhile this versatile area on the upper floor, dedicated to training and learning, where planning offices rub study rooms.


The top floor is on his side of worship and divided into three synagogues connected together by a circular patio. It welcomes both conservatives and reformists or the Orthodox. A theological library adds to these places of worship for learning and full practice of religion.

"At a time when so many buildings in our city have become relentlessly generic, it's a pleasure to see one overgrown with history and meaning." Inga Saffron, architecture critic

This work, which is a project of architectural development of the university, to associate knowledge and belief in an achievement of both traditional and allegorical.

Photos: Stanley Staitowitz

To learn more, visit the site of Stanley Staitowitz

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