Thursday, December 6, 2007


Here is an interesting building.

This is where symbols crash. Early on in this series it was mentioned that symbols only have the meaning that we assign to them. I did not know what this building was when I saw it being built, but I did have some guesses based on what I thought the symbolism was saying.

Notice the canapies over the front doors. To me they appear as two stylized hands stretching out over those approaching the building. One can imagine the four fingers held together and thumbs opposed to each other in a manner like a priest extending his hands to give a blessing. Moreover, there are skylights in the center of the hands. To me this was the resurrected Christ extending his blessings on those who enter this Christian building.

Not so!

The building is actually Park Synagogue East. According to the architect they are part of "three large organic shapes (that) burst from the box - a Jerusalem stone sanctuary and two great copper canopies leading to a two-story lobby. These two entrances of equal importance - one for the school, the other for the sanctuary, library, and offices - bend towards each other in a gesture of welcome and blessing."

Just interesting to note what happens when symbols collide. Context becomes very important. What may seem like obvious Christian symbolism in the hands of Christian artists and architects may not seem so in the hands of others. Best to read the sign before entering to sign up for RCIA.


Anonymous said...

:-) Well, had I seen the photo elsewhere, I'd have thought it a mitten factory's HQ, but maybe the design is even more greatly Inspired than the architect knew.

Anonymous said...

Fr. V - maybe someone more technical can explain this, but after you put that poll up on your sidebar, the "back" button no longer works to exit your blog, you have to use the drop down menu to bypass Maybe it's something to do with my own setup, but it doesn't happen on any other blogs.

Adrienne said...

I don't care what they symbolize IMHO they are ugly. They just look out of sync with the plain flat building. They remind me of a platypuss bill gone bad.