Friday, September 23, 2011

1st Stop: Ahavath Achim Synagogue APC Sacred Spaces Tour

Finally. After driving by for nearly 40 years, I got to see it. I was there for 2 1/2 hours. Though modern and minimal, I couldn't take it all in. I can only give you hints.

The Atlanta Preservation Center's first "Sacred Spaces" tour started last night with Ahavath Achim Synagogue. There are more events Saturday and Sunday that cover the spectrum. It's easy and free. You need to R.S.V.P for a few of them.

Andre Steiner designed Ahavath Achim Synagogue which was completed in 1958. Druid Hills folks know Andre Steiner from Briar Park Court. Perli Pelzig designed the stained glass windows and more, that's another story.

These are the chapel windows.

The whole composition.

The chapel windows from inside.

This is the view from the west parking lot. The small box is the chapel, the big box is the 2,500 seat sanctuary.

The entrance to the chapel is straight ahead.

We gathered in the lobby. Brandy Morrison who put the APC Sacred Spaces together and Tom Little, a leader of DOCOMOMO Georgia introduced the tour. Tom is the tall guy with glasses on the left.

Historian and author Doris Goldstein gave us a little history and a tour of their beautiful museum.

The sanctuary seats 2,500 and has room for 3,500 in a pinch. Big, warm, not intimidating, it's minimal with plenty to see.

The windows are more folky than abstract and are loaded with symbolism. Each of the 28 windows in the sanctuary deserves a long look.

Rabbi Neil Sandler made us feel at home as he introduced us to the congregation and symbolism.

Architect, Stanley Daniels told us more about the structure. In 1958 the style for churches/synagogues was "awesome" (I'm using my own terms here). These days the style is "intimate." Mr. Daniels discussed how they might make this room a bit more intimate.

However that turns out, I'm happy to see the awesome.

Then the unexpected highlight: They opened the Aron Kodesh.

It took a few folks to find the latch.

These handmade objects broadcast life into the rather severe room. I was moved.

All eyes to the front.

We ended the evening with a film about Andre Steiner, "Andre's Lives." Here is Andrew Kohr introducing the film. That's another extraordinary story.

After 2+ hours I was satisfied, exhausted, overwhelmed and grateful. I hope to return.

Thanks to the Atlanta Preservation Center and to Ahavath Achim for this architecture tourist opportunity.


1 comment:

  1. I knew I'd find a wonderful review of this building on your site, Terry. Going there tomorrow.


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