New Synagogue in Potsdam/text


Location: Potsdam
Competition: 2009
Client: Brandenburgischer Landesbetrieb für Liegenschaften und Bauen

New Synagogue in Potsdam

Within the open realization competition a new construction for a synagogue in the center of Potsdam was designed on a 1,400 square meter area. The largest Jewish parish is situated in Potsdam and will receive an appropriate sacred space here. The construction site is located within the historical center of the city that undergoes a renovation process. It is aiming at re-approaching to the historic floor plan. While interacting with the surrounding buildings of the historic center, the synagogue forms a significant element and sustainably shapes the identity of the city.

Our design for the synagogue picks up the conditions of the building block and follows the surrounding pattern of four-storey constructions with a mansard roof. The new sacred building takes up on the independent and special position. As a solitary building it receives the urban features of the site. A plastered façade rises above the generously opened ground floor base and shows regularly structured window openings. Developed from the Star of David the metal structure of the southern façade covers the house from the first to the fourth floor. The ornamental structure is integrated into the wall clad with natural stone. Covering the differently used rooms, the ornament emphasizes the overall usage of the building to the exterior and symbolizes the Jewish life within the urban structure.

The open and glazed entrance area in the ground floor welcomes the entrants with the free-standing poles structuring the area. Easily organized, the four floors can be structured into independent usable areas. Directed towards the garden, the foyer offers a generous communication zone and a fluent transition into the garden. It is fenced with a hedge and has a green topography as well as a paved path presenting the access to the garden allowing for privacy, protection and intimacy.

The number twelve pervades many facets of the interior design and stands for the complex symbolism of Judaism. The Star of David on the façade has six positive and six negative edges, six pillars flank the synagogue on each side of the passage in the sacred space. The ceiling is structured by twelve fields.

The entirety of the design is not only experienced from the outside, but also perceivable inside the building.