Synagoge Liberaal Joodse Gemeente Amsterdam

Zuidelijke Wandelweg 41
Bjarne Mastenbroek, Uda Visser
Liberaal Joodse Gemeente Amsterdam
Bouwbedrijf M.J. de Nijs en Zonen B.V
NS Station Amsterdam RAI +10 min.
Winnaar Amsterdamse Architectuur Prijs 2011 Dit project is o.m. gepubliceerd in Amsterdamse Architectuur 2010-2011; ARCAM POCKET 24. Klik hier voor meer boeken uit de reeks ’ARCAM POCKET’.

New ‘house of assembly’

A synagogue has been built to a design by the architectural office SeARCH, on Zuidelijke Wandelweg. The old synagogue on Jacob Soetendorpstraat no longer met the requirements of the Liberal Jewish Community in Amsterdam.

At first glance, the new synagogue appears to be a simple, four-storey rectangular box. Closer inspection, however, reveals it to be covered with symbols. On the façade, with a typography of dots reminiscent of matzes, is a Hebrew message of welcome. In addition, a pattern of Stars of David is draped over the building like a tablecloth. The large windows on either side resemble Menoras, seven-branched candelabra, which symbolize light and which, moreover, follow the contours of the synagogue.

Inside, the sea of daylight is tempered by curtains, specially designed by Inside Outside, on one side of which is a pattern of young shoots and on the other side a pattern of an old tree. The interior is entirely of oak.

In order to accommodate 800 worshippers in the synagogue, the architect has situated the axis between Biema (pulpit) and Aron Hakodesh (cupboard containing the Torah scrolls) in the middle of the space. The congregation sits on either side of the axis and above are two stepped balconies with seating, from where Biema and Aron Hakodesh are always visible.

The entrance doors to the synagogue are clad with gold leaf (a gift from the construction partners to the client/the building) and are surrounded by stones from the old synagogue. Next to the entrances to the balconies, on the second and third floors, are offices and classrooms. On the ground floor are various (function) rooms that can be rented, a kitchen and a Mikveh (purification bath). A wide staircase leads to the first floor with the Azara (reception area), the library and the prayer hall.

The word ‘synagogue’ literally means ‘house of assembly’ and bringing together these functions in one building certainly does credit to the name. (ARCAM/FG)