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Bēhance

Multi-Faith Worship Center

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  • Multi-Faith Worship Center
    [jewish and protestant]
    Evanston, IL
  • For fall senior design studio, we were given the task designing a worship center shared by two communities of faith. This multi-faith program, for Jewish and Christian faiths, brought forth the challenges of designing a space respecting each religion but without identifiable religious iconography. We also needed to design the building in two phases, outlying spaces of future growth. This Worship Center's formal concept revolves around the communities of faith being unified by experiencing God's creation through natural phenomenon, incorporating connections to light, water, and nature. The form of the worship space takes upon twelve alternating bands, symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel, and representing the unification of the two faith communities. A vacant urban site was chosen in a neighborhood of rich diversity, allowing the center to be accessible to a variety of ages and families. This site provides multiple transit connections, promoting both walkability and reduced automobile dependency, allowing each faith community to serve as active stewards of God's creation.
     
  • Ideal Site Connections and Locations
  • A fellow studio member and myself compared racial census demographics with transportation connections in the Chicago region. The map above overlays both of these studies to find ideal locations of diversity and connectivity. Three ideal nodes concluded are Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood to the south, the first ring suburb of Evanston to the north, and the outer ring suburb of Elgin to the west, all of urban contexts. The map below* shows the racial census survey. This study concluded with Evanston serving as the most ideal location for a Multi-Faith Worship Center. The site plan below highlights the chosen site's close transportation opportunities, surrounding building fabric, and greater urban context.  
    *Radical Cartography by Bill Rankin
  • Design Process
  • Plans 
  • Main Level Plan. The central enclosed courtyard serves as a gathering space between the building's main spaces. It also provides a natural connection to the worship space. The worship space faces east responding to the needs of the jewish faith. A daycare facility on the opposite end is designed for use during the week with a controlled connection to the courtyard, providing a supervised place for children. Spaces highlighted in brown represent Phase II growth.

  • Second Level Plan. The northern wing supports pastoral and staff offices. A walkway overlooking the courtyard connects the office wing with the upper level of the worship space. 
  • Third Level Plan. This floor is built entirely in Phase II, adding additional classrooms, a library, and a green roof terrace. 
  • Elevations & Sections
  • North Elevation. The facade is given a base responding to human scale and the urban context of storefronts, shops and restaurants. (both phases shown)
  • West Elevation. A three-part building mass informs the Northern Wing, Interior Courtyard, and Worship Space.
  • South Elevation. Louvers shade the summer sun and provide privacy to the worship space.
  • South Section through Interior Courtyard.
  • South Section through Worship Space
  • Imagery
  • The main entrance is brought back from the corner of the street, also serving as a visual marker from the CTA-L, Bus and Metra stops across the street. 
  • The interior courtyard provides conditioned greenspace throughout the year. 
  • The worship space is oriented eastward with a raised platform, housing the location of the torah ark, along with flexible space for the speaker and musicians. The worship space also incorporates flexible seating. The roof's bands allow for controlled views of the sky during morning worship services.