Congregation Or Zarua

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New York City

Architecture: RG Roesch Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Geoffrey Roesch / Tanya Barth)
Project Manager: David Matero
Lighting Design: Herbert Levine Lighting Consultants
Interior Design: Anne Korman / Scott Ageloff
Builder: Calleo Construction

While with RGR in 2001, Project Manager, David Matero, assisted with the design and management of the construction of a new synagogue for Congregation Or Zarua (Hebrew for “Light is Sown”) on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The seven-story synagogue houses a 220-seat sanctuary, social hall, library, kitchen, offices, and five classrooms.

Using a quiet and serene palette of materials, a granite base anchors a limestone façade with stainless steel windows and doors. A two-story curtain wall of patterned “rice paper” glass, also framed in stainless steel, punctuates the facade at the second and third floor levels, expressing the volume of the sanctuary. The curtain wall provides diluted southern light while maintaining a sense of privacy for the sanctuary lobby.

The sanctuary includes accents of the stainless steel, glass, limestone and Beech wood. “Floating” balconies and a bridge are delicately anchored to columns that are set apart from the walls and custom-designed lighting fixtures emulate the sloping balconies.