JRC Synagogue

Distinguished Building Award Submission

JRC’s commitment to Tikkun Olam – Hebrew for “repairing the world” – informed the design of the new 31,600 sf synagogue. The first house of worship to achieve LEED Platinum required a holistic approach to sustainable strategies.

The design solution, a precious wooden box, is a visual testament to these values. The wood cladding is recycled cypress harvested from demolished barns. The existing building was demolished and crushed on site providing engineered backfill. Maples that could not be saved were harvested and used for monumental building doors.
Construction waste in gabions and used to create site features. 40% of materials are regionally manufactured with Jerusalem Stone as the deliberate exception. The Jerusalem stone wall, representing less than 1% of the modest $230/sf cost, was included for its spiritual connection and anchors the box to create a baseline for all activities. The processional stair outside the wall provides a meaningful and eventful transition between spaces.

Offices, early childhood program, and chapel occupy the first floor; religious school and library are on the second; the sanctuary, social hall and kitchen are on the third, a strategy that allowed cost effective construction of high volume space for the sanctuary.

Ross Barney Architects
Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
  • C.E. Anderson & Associates, P.C.
  • EYP Mission Critical Facilities
  • Helen Kessler
  • Oslund and Associates
  • Talaske
General contractor
Bulley & Andrews, LLC
Evanston, Illinois