Dror-Designed Soho Synagogue

written by:
August 1, 2011

Designed by Studio Dror, the new SoHo Synagogue in New York aims to translate the inspiration of Judaism to a new generation. Founders Rabbi Dovi Scheiner and his wife Esty Scheiner invited Dror to create a space that melds religious traditions with a thoroughly modern aesthetic, a surprisingly raw and industrial space, and the open-minded local Jewish community. "I intended for the SoHo Synagogue to be an inspiring, creative shelter to bring a new light onto the religious traditions," says Dror. Here's a look inside, with photos by John M. Hall.

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  The synagogue is set in a storefront that used to be a fashion boutique. To create privacy, Dror installed vinyl stripes in the window that evoke both the lines of the tallit shawl that men wear for praying, as well as the image of a bar code. Photo by John M. Hall.
    The synagogue is set in a storefront that used to be a fashion boutique. To create privacy, Dror installed vinyl stripes in the window that evoke both the lines of the tallit shawl that men wear for praying, as well as the image of a bar code. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  The first thing you see when you enter the synagogue is a long narrowing reception area. The sculptural reception desk is made of two white QuaDror feet and a transparent glass top. A donor wall with blue bricks acknowledges financial contributions. Converging lines on the ceiling create a sense of narrowing perspective en route to the prayer room. The ceiling design, made from inset light bulbs, resembles both a menorah and the modern grid of a subway map. Photo by John M. Hall.
    The first thing you see when you enter the synagogue is a long narrowing reception area. The sculptural reception desk is made of two white QuaDror feet and a transparent glass top. A donor wall with blue bricks acknowledges financial contributions. Converging lines on the ceiling create a sense of narrowing perspective en route to the prayer room. The ceiling design, made from inset light bulbs, resembles both a menorah and the modern grid of a subway map. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  Past the corridor, you arrive at the top of a steel-and-glass stairwell that overlooks the subterranean sanctuary. Photo by John M. Hall.
    Past the corridor, you arrive at the top of a steel-and-glass stairwell that overlooks the subterranean sanctuary. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  A peaceful sanctuary atmosphere, traditionally created by the light through stained-glass windows, is here created with single retro-style Edison bulbs. Photo by John M. Hall.
    A peaceful sanctuary atmosphere, traditionally created by the light through stained-glass windows, is here created with single retro-style Edison bulbs. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  In lieu of traditional prayer benches, a series of low beige couches accommodates congregants. The art panels on the wall are removable and fold out to create additional seating and coffee tables. Photo by John M. Hall.
    In lieu of traditional prayer benches, a series of low beige couches accommodates congregants. The art panels on the wall are removable and fold out to create additional seating and coffee tables. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  Along one wall is a towering menorah fresco, created with black painted lines and seven glowing square bricks that were found in the foundation during the renovation. Here you can see the convertible chairs plucked from the wall and set up to seat additional guests. Photo by John M. Hall.
    Along one wall is a towering menorah fresco, created with black painted lines and seven glowing square bricks that were found in the foundation during the renovation. Here you can see the convertible chairs plucked from the wall and set up to seat additional guests. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  The Torah ark sits in the center, flanked by a pair of Dror's blue Peacock chairs. The ark is made of overlapping circles that slide open and closed. Each contains a triangle; when the ark is closed these two triangles form the Star of David. Photo by John M. Hall.
    The Torah ark sits in the center, flanked by a pair of Dror's blue Peacock chairs. The ark is made of overlapping circles that slide open and closed. Each contains a triangle; when the ark is closed these two triangles form the Star of David. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  Here's a view of the ark in action, mid-way open. Photo by John M. Hall.
    Here's a view of the ark in action, mid-way open. Photo by John M. Hall.
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  And here it is fully open, revealing the Torah inside. The Israeli-American fashion designer Yigal Azrouel handled the fabric design. Photo by John M. Hall.Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    And here it is fully open, revealing the Torah inside. The Israeli-American fashion designer Yigal Azrouel handled the fabric design. Photo by John M. Hall.

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