FLEMINGTON JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER / FLEMINGTON, NEW JERSEY
CLIENT: Flemington Jewish Community Center
SITE: flat site located in the Borough of Flemington in an area characterized by a mixture of residential, commercial, and municipal facilities
PROGRAM: Jewish community center with sanctuary, offices and school facilities
SIZE: 18,000 ft2
COST: $1.8 million
COMPLETION: March 2001 (competition)
PUBLICATIONS: Competitions v11, n3, Fall 2001
PROJECT TEXT: Our design proposal for the Flemington Jewish Community Center (FJCC), asserts that an architectural community is more than a mere cluster of buildings. Instead, this proposal establishes a material ground for a unity that is at once local and global, past and present, celebratory and solemn. The sanctuary, offices and school are swathed in a distinctive architectural design fabric, invoking the biblical notion of the "tent that is open on all four sides."
As the fabric wraps around the center (in three layers- the outer visible surface, a layer suspended behind, and finally the windows in the weather envelope of the individual buildings), the inscribed Hebraic letterforms of a common prayer bind the separate program elements of the center together, bolstering their positivist statement of utility with the mystery of faith. Thus, the worldliness of Abraham is braided into the homeliness of the wedding chuppah, arguing the case for a flexible, multiple, and layered community, and demonstrating, rather than simply claiming, the unique position of the American Jewry. This singular public invocation, folded continuously into the enveloping strata of the inscribed Hebraic text, draws each person closer to the oneness of prayer.