The Synagogue

The Synagogue


Author: Eva Strocholcova
Year: 2016
Function: religion (synagoue), sacred space, community center, library, administration, restaurant, museum
Site location: Olomouc, Czech Republic
Institution: Brno University of Technology, Czech Republic (Faculty of Civil Engineering, Institute of Architecture)
Brief description of the project:
The assignment of diploma thesis was to design a new place of worship for Jewish community on the site of originally burnt synagogue in Olomouc city in Czech Republic.
The complex contains kosher restaurant, museum of Jewish culture, Jewish community centre with its administration and auditorium, kosher grocery store, mikveh the ritual bath, new chapel and memorial garden of burnt synagogue. The block is divided into three buildings connected each other by a colonnade and semi-private courtyard which opens to adjacent public square but at the same time is protected from the bustle of the main road.

The concept is based on an effort to restore a dialogue between private and public. And to connect the individual functions within the closed functional unit to fulfil the needs of community, however, also communicate with public and help to raise awareness of Jewish culture.
The result is the concept offering a new perspective for community in form of crossfading spaces from the public square with a park, following to the semi-private courtyard, ending in the private space of chapel with a small private garden. And three, thanks to these spaces, communicating objects.

The proposed buildings /The New Synagogue, The Museum of Jewish Culture and The Jewish Community Centre/ are connected each other by the colonnade and the courtyard which opens to adjacent square but at the same time is protected from bustle of the main road by the buildings.
The colonnade separates the courtyard from the square by a glass wall but keeps the visual contact between them and also allows the visitors of complex to past between the buildings with “a dry feet”.
The courtyard could be used for a private activities of community but it could also open to the public to adjacent square or to serve as a garden of kosher restaurant (situated in the bottom of the museum).

The New Synagogue is a simple shaped two-storey building. Its interior is intersected by a conical skylight inclined to the east and illuminating the space of chapel by sun’s rays directed along the axis from Jerusalem.
Skylight in the interior gradually widens towards the Bime (speaker’s desk) and the light spreads into the chapel over the believers (embodying the idea “The Deity is everywhere”). Orientation of the building is based on the proposal of burnt synagogue. However, the chapel itself is rotated and respects the traditional orientation of praying towards Jerusalem, thanks to the concept “space inside of other space”. The volume of skylight is partially visible from the exterior and its morphology allows passers identify the object as a building of sacral purpose.
The small memorial garden behind the Synagogue creates a connection between the Synagogue and the educational rooms on the bottom of the Community Centre to provide a place for private events and studying which have been always very important in Jewish culture. It contains the shape of circle that symbolize a projection of dome as a memory of burnt synagogue that once was in this place.

Nationality: Slovak
Contacts: www.evastrocholcova.com
City and date of birth: Zilina, 1990/07/31
Tutors: Ing. arch. Juraj Dulencin, Ph.D.

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