OMA Designs Addition to Wilshire Boulevard Temple

 John Hill
30. March 2018
Image courtesy of OMA New York
The Wilshire Boulevard Temple has released OMA’s design for the Audrey Irmas Pavilion. Shohei Shigematsu's design "will serve as a multi-purpose gathering place, forging new connections within the existing campus and creating a new urban presence to engage Los Angeles."
The image released by the Wilshire Boulevard Temple shows the OMA pavilion leaning away from the 1929 Byzantine-Revival sanctuary on the Erika J. Glazer Family Campus. As described by Shigematsu in an announcement: "The pavilion is an active gesture, shaped by respectful moves away from the surrounding historic buildings, reaching out onto Wilshire Boulevard to create a new presence."

A couple openings visible in the perforated wrapper ​hint at what is going on inside. Three gathering spaces puncture the building's skin — a main event space, a smaller multi-purpose room and a sunken garden — each one oriented to establish vantage points and frame views. In Shigematsu's words: "Within the building, a series of interconnected meeting spaces at multiple scales provide ultimate flexibility for assembly while maintaining visual connections that establish outdoor indoor porosity and moments of surprise encounters."

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple is located, obviously, on Wilshire Boulevard, west of Downtown, or about halfway between the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which is being transformed by Peter Zumthor, and Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall. Accordingly, the Audrey Irmas Pavilion is envisioned as "a modern masterpiece," in the words of Rabbi Steve Leder.

OMA's New York office is designing the Audrey Irmas Pavilion — the firm’s first commission from a religious institution and first cultural building in California — in collaboration with executive architect Gruen Associates. The new building is expected to break ground in late 2018 and open in 2020.

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