Temple architecture

New Audrey Irmas Pavilion Lights Wilshire Boulevard Temple – Beverly Hills Courier — Beverly Hills Courier

“I think it will make everything else more beautiful,” he said, as a modest concession to what will now join the ranks of LA’s most significant buildings.

Indeed, the singularity of the pavilion is not restricted to its exterior. Its interior is not built in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a series of openings pierced through the volume of the structure, creating luminous spaces on, between and outside its various levels.

The main event vaulted space is meant to summon the temple dome. Photo by Jason O’Rear

It’s all part of a vision that Shigematsu was more than happy to outline for the Courier during a Zoom call from Tokyo.

He began by outlining the challenge of designing a new building next to a historic religious structure.

“The synagogue is a very symmetrical building, a very monumental building and a very serene building. What we wanted was a dialogue between that and an asymmetrical building, lively and not particularly serene; a building that wants to emanate vitality. So that’s dialogue, dignity and vitality,” he explained.

Although not built as a religious building per se, the pavilion shows an “overall clarity that could speak of religiosity or some kind of depth, which of course is important for religious institutions,” Shigematsu said. .

He emphasized the desire to show deference to the setting of the pavilion.

“Typically, respect is seen as perhaps an architect being polite. And some architects might think it’s a compromise to be respectful of the historic structure. But here we thought we could make a generic box more exciting by blatantly showing the respect movement,” Shigematsu said.

This “movement of respect” is literal, as evidenced by the pronounced tilt of the structure. The building slopes away from the Temple and towards Wilshire Boulevard.

“We made a slope at an angle to the Temple to create a courtyard between the sanctuary and the entrance to the pavilion. We mirrored this tilt to the Wilshire side to make a parallelogram. We felt we needed a vibrant presence on Wilshire, as it’s one of LA’s most important thoroughfares.

“Those two moves actually made the form quite complicated,” he added, in a clear understatement.

The main event vaulted space is meant to summon the temple dome. Photo by Jason O’Rear The pavilion slopes away from the historic Temple and toward Wilshire Boulevard. Photo by Jason O’Rear

Security issues provided an additional concern.

“We knew we couldn’t have entry from the street, as that compromises security issues. Thus, the true entrance faces the Temple through an outer plaza. But we also didn’t want the building to look like a fortress because it was meant to be a beacon of openness to the neighborhood and the rest of Los Angeles. So what we’ve decided is more strategic porosity or contextual transparency.

This “porosity” takes place in the three main event spaces, which Shigematsu likens to portals. He describes the main event space on the ground floor as a “hallway” that connects Wilshire Boulevard to campus’ Siegel Court. The massive window overlooking Wilshire and the large skylight opening to the second floor are further signs of the openness of the structure.

The trapezoidal, bright green second floor depicts “porosity in a different direction,” Shigematsu said. While the ground floor connects Wilshire Boulevard and the courtyard in a north-south axis, the second floor flows in an east-west direction. Its signature feature is a huge covered outdoor event space that overlooks the Temple’s stained glass windows.

“At night, they light the stained glass from behind, allowing you to see the close relationship between new and old. Typically, you appreciate a church from the inside, but here you can also have a different perspective on the outside, which is rare, so I would say it’s an interesting relationship,” Shigematsu said. .

The third floor houses offices and activity areas designed for the Annenberg GenSpace. After conducting online programming for nearly a year, the space officially opens on April 21 for classes, partnerships and events designed to enrich seniors.

The establishment’s presence brings a synergy that appeals to Shigematsu.

“The premise was that they were inspired by this architecture and then they came into the space. The notion of aging and religious institution is a co-relation, I think. So it’s an interesting hybrid,” he said.

Shigematsu added, “It’s great that an institution is still there. It’s pretty good that there’s always some level of presence and activity, not just limited to one event. The problem with this type of gathering building is that when there is no meeting, it can seem dead or underutilized.

View of the Temple’s stained glass windows from the pavilion. Photo by Jason O’Rear

The pavilion is unlikely to suffer from underutilization. Bookings are pretty strong for 2022. And Shigematsu is confident the pavilion is fulfilling its mission as a desirable gathering place.

“I’m not saying our building acts like a church, but at least there’s a level of diversity and energy that inspires people to come together and see each other again. In a way, the pandemic will hopefully underline even more the importance of this building. We hope that the energy and kind of diversity and shared character of this building will inspire at least some people to come here and talk to people.

He’s also more than willing to share credit for the finished product.

“It’s not just our achievement, obviously. People who really cared about having great space, great architecture, great art and cultural continuity made this building a reality,” he said. declared.

He mentioned Broad.

“I always thought Eli had a deep desire to contribute to LA culture in art but also in architecture,” Shigematsu said.

He referred to Broad’s role in other high-profile deals in Los Angeles where OMA was a major competitor but ultimately did not receive the commission.

“Of course there is a story but, in the end, of course we appreciate that he even put on the competition for this building. If it hadn’t been for Eli, I don’t think this building would have done the subject of an international competition.

Shigematsu explained what he meant by the term “cultural continuity” and how it is reflected in the pavilion.

“I heard that because of this building, some parents decided to send their children to the Temple school. Children who look at this building will be a little more familiar with this type of building. This will likely create another level of philanthropy in the future towards LA’s cultural contribution. So, I really like that the building contributes to the succession of culture in Los Angeles. Architecture sometimes has that kind of power.

Without a doubt, great architecture has that kind of power. And the great rabbis too.