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Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects

Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects

New York, NY

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Designed by MBB Architects, Park Avenue Synagogue’s New Community Building Opens in Manhattan

By Alex_A_G
Dec 10, '19 3:09 PM EST
MBB Architects designed the renovation and expansion of the Park Avenue Synagogue's 87th Street building in New York City.
MBB Architects designed the renovation and expansion of the Park Avenue Synagogue's 87th Street building in New York City.

MBB Architects has completed the renovation and expansion of Park Avenue Synagogue’s 87th Street building. The facility’s “Rededication” and official opening ceremony took place on Sunday, December 8th.

Known among congregants as PAS@87th, the reconfigured and renovated building serves as the communal center of the Park Avenue Synagogue campus. Facilities and amenities added in the 65,500-square-foot building include welcoming community gathering areas, two new dedicated prayer spaces, and a striking glassed-in, double-height multipurpose room displaying modern stained-glass panels. At its center, an intimate Minyan chapel enclosed in a sweeping, sculptural enclosure invites worshippers to daily prayer.

Other new facilities include a pre-school, a large new chapel and kiddush, a banquet space with catering kitchen, new offices and conference rooms for clergy and administration staff uses, adult education and meeting spaces, a teen lounge, music rehearsal areas and an outdoor play deck.

The completion of this major renovation follows on the heels of Park Avenue Synagogue’s opening of Eli M. Black Lifelong Learning Center, adapted from a nearby 1912 Neo-Renaissance landmarked townhouse and now serving as a highly flexible educational and multiuse facility supporting learning for a full range of ages and users.

As for the Eli M. Black Learning Center project, MBB Architects has collaborated with Chicago-based architect and Judaica designer Amy Reichert to incorporate themed artwork, Jewish texts, and other liturgical installations into the 87th Street Synagogue building. These include the reinstallation of a series of historic stained-glassed windows created in the 1950s by American artist Adolf Gottlieb, which are thoughtfully displayed in the vertical niches within the interior glass stair enclosure as well as in the double-height event area.

Commenting on the multiphase building program, Beryl Chernov, the synagogue’s executive director, said that the new campus allows Park Avenue Synagogue to launch “new program initiatives, a re-envisioned curriculum in its Congregational School, and a fresh take on familiar worship events.”

The result of these intensive building campaigns has been "a cohesive plan for this vibrant congregation’s varied needs,” say the synagogue's leaders, adding spaces for prayer, special events, education for all ages, and support functions. In short, “It’s a responsive urban campus for a growing faith community,” says Mary Burnham, FAIA, a partner with MBB.