Hurva Synagogue

Hurva Synagogue

Architekturbüro Sven Röttger
Jerusalem, Israel
Project Year

Hurva Synagogue

Architekturbüro Sven Röttger as Architects

The origins of the “Hurva-Synagogue,” located in the Old Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, date from 1700. It was finally completed in 1864. During the 1948 War it was destroyed and remained a ruin (Hurva) from that time on, with the old stone arc still standing.

After the Six Day War in 1967 it became a subject of many plans and architectural proposals. Louis Kahn wanted to create a new synagogue next to the old building, yet all ideas remained on the drawing board. His concepts for natural light inspired the design of this new proposal. A concrete Volume based on a square is placed next to the Hurva Synagogue on the open plaza. While starting out parallel to the surrounding context, the structure twists to face straight towards the Western Wall (East). Its slanted walls have cutouts at all corners - as if a tent canvas has been pushed aside to give an opening - thus making associations to a solid building as well as a temporarily erected tent.

This concept is based on the idea of Abraham´s tent that was said to have openings in all directions to welcome visitors and to underline its open-minded and tolerant character. It is also a reference to the 40 years journey in the wilderness. The triangular entrance hall comprises the staircase to the women´s section (gallery) on the 1st floor. The wall of the “Aron” (where the Tora Scrolls are placed) is accented dramatically by a skylight from above, while the “Almemor” takes the center of the space.

Project Credits
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