Faith & Form Magazine has just released its Best of 2017 International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture and we are pleased to state that the Epstein designed and engineered Park Plaza Synagogue is a winner in the New Facilities category. Park Plaza was one of 27 winners chosen from over 120 submissions. Besides New Facilities, Faith & Form awards were also given for Adaptive Re-Use/Re-Purpose, Renovations, Interior Design, Ceremonial Objects, Furnishings, Visual Arts, Landscape, Student Work & Unbuilt/Conceptual Designs.
For Park Plaza, Epstein provided architectural and interior design, as well as full-service engineering services, for an expansion & partial renovation to the Park Plaza Senior Living Center in Chicago, Illinois. Park Plaza is an 180,000 square foot Modern Jewish Orthodox senior retirement facility originally built in 1987. The center includes many amenities for social functions such as a beauty salon, library, and game room, as well as other facilities for physical therapy, and worship in an independent community. Originally, those amenities were spread throughout the building, and one of Epstein's tasks was to bring all of these amenities together on the ground floor to create a new renovated social area for all to gather. In addition to this, Epstein completely renovated the lobby featuring a water wall and aviary as well as designing new finishes for all of the ground floor model apartments.
In addition to the renovation portion of the program our architects and engineers were also asked to design a new 3,600 square foot synagogue addition to the East of the existing building. This synagogue was designed to accommodate 70 worshippers on a daily basis.
The architectural expression of Park Plaza’s synagogue is presented by a series of “nested boxes” which convey the eternal values of the Jewish culture - Community, Tradition & Faith.
The Community element is expressed by the outer metal box which consists of hard metal conveying the idea of unity, and commonality of purpose…steadfastness. The trellis / screenwall design, allows for varying degrees of “openness”, depending upon one’s perspective.
The idea of Tradition is articulated through the glass box, which is protected by the metal skin, and speaks of tradition, which is fragile, and being in the middle, and, therefore the “glue” which holds everything together.
Lastly, the idea of Faith is shown by the Fabric box which consists of the woven gold metal curtain, with its method of construction visible, and therefore, the individual links being an expression of the idea of the responsibility of individual faith.
About Faith & Form
Faith & Form is a DC-based quarterly publication dedicated to providing and exchanging ‘knowledge, insight, and creativity among those who create and use religious art and architecture.’
The Jury for the 2017 International Awards Program
Fr. Gilbert Sunghera, SJ (liturgical design consultant); David Roccosalva (artist and jury chair); Carolyn Peterson (architect); Rev. W. Joseph Mann (clergy); Thomas Barrie (architect)