Turning a Shul into a Racy Home

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A while back I wrote about sacred spaces like Churches and synagogues being turned into homes, and how I thought it was kind of strange. shul_home.JPG

I figured it was a pretty limited trend, but the New York Times is covering yet another synagogue converted into condos, each selling for $1.5 million. And frankly, the conversion sounds bizarre. Here’s an excerpt:
Still, many of the rooms had been oddly configured by the condominium developer, including a diagonal party wall that created awkward, unusable corners. On the suggestion of their real estate broker, the couple hired Manifold Architecture Studio, a young firm in Brooklyn founded by Philipp and Kit von Dalwig.

Known for conceptual designs and art installations, the architects brought a playful, even racy sensibility to the project — turning the once-somber sanctuary into a modern triplex with an exhibitionist streak. Given Ms. Camacho’s passion for eco-friendly design, the renovation had to be green, too.

Racy is the least of it. The bathroom has clear glass walls, and the place has very little furniture. I have no personal investment in the former Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe Ungarn — which means Great House of Study of the People of Hungary. But I am kind of offended on the behalf of a previously sacred space that it was turned into something so cold and weirdly licentious. Sad.

Posted on April 3, 2009
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