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Jewish Identity in Contemporary Architecture/Judische Identitat in Der Zeitgenossischen Architektur

Samuel D. Gruber, Michael Levin, James E. Young

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ISBN 10: 3791330578 / ISBN 13: 9783791330570
Published by Prestel Publishing, 2004
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Ex-library copy with usual markings. Ex-library copy with usual markings. In brodart clear protector jacket. Bookseller Inventory # mon0001420787

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Jewish Identity in Contemporary Architecture...

Publisher: Prestel Publishing

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

About this title


This publication provides an international overview of architecture for Jewish museums, synagogues, community centers, and schools in the early 21st century. The projects represent the most important contemporary architectural positions pertaining to the construction of these institutions and show how they give shape to Jewish identity.

From Publishers Weekly:

Post-modernist theory dictates that a building has to do more than just provide a functional space: it also must express an idea. These 16 examples of schools, synagogues and museums suggest that Jewish contemporary architecture is at the very forefront of this trend. The Jewish Museum of Berlin is a pathway of sharp angles, like a deconstructed star of David; the Holocaust Museum of Houston has a wide brick chimney, a purposefully exaggerated reminder of the smokestacks of Auschwitz. Of course, these are architectural responses to the Holocaust and, as such, need to evoke a certain mournfulness. But why are the synagogues and schools designed with such harsh geometry? The New Synagogue of Dresden is supposedly based on the Temple of Jerusalem, but its walled courtyard, with a large, boxy structure at either end, suggests only a prison yard before exercise hour. The Jewish Primary School of Berlin is a remarkable series of shard-like wedges radiating from a central space, but the interior walls are exposed concrete—not exactly the best material for rambunctious seven-year-olds. Although a few introductory essays do provide some history, questions of form over function are not addressed by this book. Instead, the emphasis is on visual illustration: photographs and drawings dominate the pages. Thus, despite its ambitious title, this volume is really a coffee table book. Beautifully designed, it will grace the living room of anyone interested in modern architecture. But those who want to know why contemporary architects are reluctant—or unable—to evince that Judaism has its joys as well as its sorrows will need to look elsewhere.
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