Sacred Places Summer 2022 - Page 25

Congregation Habonim New York , New York
• BKSK Architects
The plan for the new sanctuary is circular , defined by a wooden fin wall that speaks to individuals coming together to form a collective whole . The visible craft in the materiality and details throughout is a reference to the Hebrew word Habonim , which means “ the builders .”
The curved wall draws one around to the sanctuary entrance . The floor shifts from continuous terrazzo to carpet , while the layers of wall material include an artist-designed woven wall covering , embroidered with a Hebrew quote .
The focus of the sanctuary is on the east-facing ark , framed by articulated wood and bronze elements . Twelve unique textured bronze strips add a level of detail to the door , reminding one of the Twelve Tribes . The chapel is a smaller , flexible sacred space and includes a reworking of the stained glass from the congregation ’ s previous 66th Street home . The opposite wall opens to a meditation garden serving as a background to the ark
that brings nature into the chapel and provides outdoor contemplative space .
The new , 30,000-square-foot space allows 300 congregants to worship . Community spaces complete the program , including classrooms , informal gathering spaces , an event space , and offices . The new home celebrates the past , present , and future of this active congregation .
“ This project features a thoughtful use of materials , revealing how they converse with each other . There is a delightful use of light and show in the interior in the way the wall judiciously modulates light . The redesigned space incorporates glass from an earlier worship space and a connection to the congregation ’ s history .”
BKSK Architects
Historic Rural Churches of Georgia Various locations in Georgia
• Sonny Seals
In 2013 , Sonny Seals led a team of collaborators in an effort to research , document , and preserve Georgia ’ s historic rural churches . They started a website featuring 14 churches in three counties ; it now contains more than 320 churches in 112 counties . Volunteers contribute from across the state .
There are several guidelines for inclusion : congregations must have been formed prior to 1900 and be in the countryside or a village of fewer than 2,000 ; the structure must be at least a century old ; and there must be significant historic architectural fabric . Cemeteries with nineteenth-century burials are especially valued . The broad-based response to the success of the website led to a successful social networking strategy , a book , and a PBS series .
The program has actively collaborated with Georgia Tech and the Pitts Library at Emory University ’ s Candler School of Theology to create a digital archive of historic
rural church history . The program uses history to promote cultural tourism , education , and economic development across the state . An in-process collaboration among Georgia Humanities , Explore Georgia , and the Pitts Library will create a “ Historic Rural Church Trail ” to promote cultural tourism and education across rural Georgia .
“ This is a very ambitious effort to conduct ongoing research to document faith environments that might be forgotten . It is very timely . The program makes the information more accessible through the web , raising the community ’ s awareness of these gems . The stories that go along with the architecture have been preserved .”