U+ Design Partners


Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation Synagogue

Evanston, Illinois

A Synagogue to Repair the World. The new synagogue for the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation accommodates an ambitious program while also “repairing the world” (“tikkun olam” in Hebrew). Both objectives are met in a sensible and attractive way. The solution, a precious wooden box, balances the limitations of a small site with worship, educational, and community objectives.

Tikkun olam manifests itself through an assertive use of sustainable and ethical architecture. JRC is LEED Platinum Certified, the first for a house of worship. The design is a holistic approach to site, architecture, materials, ventilation, and lighting. The building uses existing foundations and demolition spoils as engineered fill and construction waste within the gabion walls. 40 percent of materials are regionally sourced, including the wood cladding; recycled cypress harvested from demolished barns. Trees that could not be preserved are harvested for use within the building as acoustic screens and built-in furniture.


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