with Z-A Studio
A sustainable, accessible synagogue
Englewood, New Jersey
Inspired by the the community’s name, Kesher, meaning both Connection and Knot in Hebrew, the building is a continuous spatial band tying together three main programmatic spaces – the Sanctuary, Social Hall, and Chapel – and clad with a second ribbed skin to direct and filter light. The synagogue functions are distributed on a “split level” structure which takes advantage of the site’s slope, minimizes the need for excavation, and maximizes daylight. Exterior access is available from all three levels, encouraging a flow of activity from the inside out and eliminating the need for an elevator, not typically used on the Sabbath by Orthodox communities. The building is designed to minimize energy consumption both by the site and orientation of its massing and windows, as well as by a series of green roofs.