Zwi Peres Chajes Synagogue

CompanyBEHF Corporate Architects
Lead DesignerStephan Ferenczy
Design Team Markus Schuster, Project Director Lorenzo de Chiffre, Planning Bernd Oberwinkler, Planning
PrizeBronze in Interior Design / Public Spaces

BEHF is designing the architectural interior of the Synagogue in the Zwi Peres Chajes School on the Campus of the Jewish Community Vienna. The architectural design and technical and organizational project execution of a Synagogue in an existing shell construction in the new center of the Jewish Community Vienna. The Synagogue will be used by the pupils of the Zwi-Peres-Chajes-School as well as the inhabitants of the Maimonides-Old Age Home. The use of the Synagogue should include numerous different uses, which are organized within the livelihood of the Community center, serving not only festive or religious occasions. On one side there was a need for protection from the blinding sunlight, and on the other the need for a filtering of views coming from metro trains passing by. The large windows facing the south should be closed, or opened for the enjoyment of the view. The Thorashrine, placed in the eastern part of the Synagogue should be a fix component of the space structure and not simply placed in front of the window. A dignified or seriously-festive atmosphere shall be avoided. Nevertheless, the Synagogue should radiate warmth and a feeling of security – a certain kind of “touchability”. Coming from these multilayered needs, the idea of inner-laying window shutters has been developed, unwinding around the whole room. It is never smooth and clean, strict or unified, but folded, lively agitated and permitted – through slots and flaps – the perception of the multilayered backgrounds, window openings and architectural concrete structures. The rays of sunlight illuminate the inside of the Synagogue in a dynamic and exceptional way. The Thorashrine is the material and formal, respectively formative component of the wall covering, respectively of the window transom bar, and in that sense these folded wall covering is also a component of the Thorashrine.