New Jersey, 2001.
The proposal for the Flemington Jewish community center suggests a ribbon like matter that wraps space. The ribbon originates or concludes at the ark. Acting as a prime and elevated spatial closure that holds the book. The ribbon folds and wraps upon its spaces and congregants in one continuous motion, leaving undefined its point of origin. It flows from the ground upwards and the sky downwards – whirling through the site in a linear and indirect passage through time in the creation of space.
Through the act of wrapping, delineated spaces in motion are formed. Openings between the folds of matter accentuate closure and transparence; they intensify linear and lateral motions. They allow the site to flow through the building.
The ribbon is the fusion of three materials-atmospheres-networks. The external layer of concrete, a structural membrane, wraps around and acts as the foundations, walls and roof. The internal layer of wood, a permeable membrane, mediates and acts as the condenser of atmosphere. The current of flowing interiority is guided by its visual directionality, the permeation of its scent, the softness of its grain end the sound of its reverberation.
The openings between the layers of matter are instrumental in mechanically servicing the spaces they enclose. Heating, lighting and communications networks become the third layer of the ribbon allowing functional support to any space.
Two strategies are used for subdividing the interior looped spaces. The partitions are oriented in the direction created by either the ceiling or the floor lines, or the internal layer is peeled to form a self-supporting division.
There ere three man entrances to the building, adjacent to drop-off areas; the main entrance foyer adjacent to the sanctuary and the social hall, an entrance adjacent to the offices, the gift shop and the library, and an entrance to the school. The first two are overviewed by the synagogue offices and the latter by the nursery administration office. The main foyer is a fold in space, an opening for the congregants to experience transition, the pivoting point of directionality. The administration foyer acts as the main and central entrance to the building during the day. The school foyer is acts as an entrance, waiting area and entrance to the playground.
In the sanctuary, the Ark is a focal point. Through the motion of the fold the sacred chest is held aloft. The sanctuary allows for 235 seats (some could be removed to allow a central isle), space for additional 41 seats, wheelchairs and stretchers, and a memorial area.
The social hall is a flexible space that can be transformed; distinct and separate, focusing towards the garden courtyard or connected, focusing towards the east and the ark. It allows an expansion of 740 seats for the high holidays and more than 216 dining seats with a dance floor.
The playground, an exterior room, is a fold in the ribbon. The wood membrane flows through landscape. Islands of water, grass, sand and bamboo plants are integrated in the play surface. The playground is secluded from the road by a sloping wall that becomes the
This expanse of ribbon, lies dormant, and can be folded again to form a space of future expansion.