Jacob Obrechtplein Synagogue
Modernism ~ Modernism - Synagogue

Jacob Obrechtplein Synagogue

Drawing on a number of influences, both European and American, van Elte succeeded in designing a thoroughly modern synagogue where the drama and aesthetic quality came not from decoration, but from the composition of the building itself. Composed as a series of contrasting geometric masses, all capped with clean, white cornices, it is a masterclass in the handling of brick as a material for large, community buildings. Inside, it is highly decorative, showing van Elte’s predilection for applied decoration. The Ark, designed by van Elte to illustrate the Torah’s eternal guidance, is equally dramatic and his use of glass, parabolic arches and modern lighting mean the interior continues the expressive modernity of the outside. Despite changes in the early 1970’s this is one of Europe’s most impressive modern synagogues, and deserves to be better and more widely appreciated.

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