Architect, Architecture, louis kahn
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Contemporary architecture and ancient suggestions, the Louis Kahn’s Hurva Synagogue project

The Video proposed here consists in the reconstruction of the Louis I. Kahn’s first proposal for Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem (the project was developed between 1968 and 1974). Kahn was used to incorporate elements of the ruins into most of his architecture, in 1967 he received a commission to replace the destroyed synagogue called Hurva, which name can be translated from the Hebrew -marvelous coincidence- in the word “ruin”.

For Kahn, this project presented an extraordinary opportunity to express his most deeply felt ideas about architecture. It was his chance to build the great Jewish monument at the religious center of the new Jewish state, in the region where the three major Western religions were born. As the world’s leading Jewish architect, Kahn was conscious of the huge responsibility of this commission. In this project it is possible to find the elements that characterize Kahn’s architecture: a configuration of space as discrete volumes, complex ambient light and shadow, a celebration of mass and structure, the use of materials with both modernist and archaic qualities.

Kahn also expresses his concept of wrapping ruins around buildings: “The new building should itself consist of two buildings, an outer one which would absorb the light and heat of the sun, and an inner one, giving the effect of a separate but related building…”.The outer building of synagogue recalls some ancient monumental ruin, perhaps from Egypt, or even from some more remote past now lost to history.

The video shows the aspect of the whole composition, it focuses on the relationship with the ancient ruins, pointing out that these were the elements of inspiration for the project.

Credits: Francesco CERBELLA / Federico CAPONI
(Dipartimento di Architettura, Firenze, Italy)

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