Boulder Jewish Commons
The Boulder Jewish Community Center embodies the diversity of the religion as a celebration of the positive elements of the Jewish faith and history, it would be too easy to pick up on the shards and destructive influence of their history – plus it has already been done. Jewish faith is very strongly based on the idea of Jews as “a nation” or as a family (“children of Israel”) sharing a common history, destiny and connection. “Galut” refers to Jews living outside of Israel and translates to exile, captivity or dispersion. Despite the diversity of beliefs the relationship to the community (at all levels) is of utmost importance. Cross cultural adaptation is common in the Jewish faith where foreign cultural elements have been incorporated into the Jewish mainstream beliefs. Evidence of this can be found in several key areas of their culture – language, music and religion.
The entry sequence here is a metaphor for the events from the story of Exodus; forty years of wandering in the desert led by Moses who eventually provides food, water and knowledge for the 13 tribes who are represented in this scheme by the thirteen flowering fruit trees on the entry axis . At the entrance point to the entry courtyard the library form is more prominent as Jews consider education brings one closer to God. This idea is reinforced as it is also a tall space with strong vertical thrust. The library form is also a metaphor for Moses going “in” to the mountain to retrieve the commandments (knowledge). With elevation comes proximity to God, also Jerusalem is sited on top of a hill. The final stage to the entry sequence is the entry to the lobby which is up several steps also adding civic importance. Sokkat is a festival or holiday to celebrate the feeding of the jews in the desert during exodus. Part of the ritual includes building a pergola/shading element which is represented by the shade canopy around the main lobby space shading the main entry and amphitheater courtyards.
by Mark Raeburn at RNL