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January 02, 1981 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-01-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

6

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, January 2, 1981

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Three Synagogues Get Special Mention
in Classic Volume: 'Buildings of Detroit'

From the period of the log
cabin to the industrial age
of the 20th Century, lead-
ing up to the 1980s and the
vastness of the malls, the
rise of Detroit and its adja-
cent communities architec-
turally is described in a
most definitive work that
should be classed as a major
epic in the city's history.
The voluminous story is
incorporated in "The Build-
ings of Detroit," just issued
in a newly revised edition
by Wayne State University
Press.
The author is the famed
architectural historian, W.
Hawkins Ferry. He carries
on a family tradition of
three generations of art

patrons and collectors.
This immense volume
of 500 pages, with hun-
dreds of photos of the
buildings described in
this encyclopedic work,
contains the record of
achievements by noted
architects, and the
structures they designed.
Notable among the firms
and their works listed are
the Albert Kahn Associates.
There is reference to
works by King and Lewis.
Two notations, with
photographs of their crea-
tions are by Louis G. Red-
stone Associates.
There is unusual inter-
est in the section on reli-
gious buildings. Intro-

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ducing the subject,
author Ferry states:
"Traditional• religious
architecture had for cen-
turies relied upon the art of
carving in stone and wood.
As the industrial revolution
superseded the handicraft
era, the traditional styles
were no longer eco-
nomically viable.
"It was necessary to
create new religious am-
biance by restudying the
possibilities of form, tex-
ture, and light source in re-
lation to new materials and
structural techniques.
Pioneer architects led the
way by producing pro-
totypes that served as the
basis for a new religious
architecture in keeping
with 20th Century aesthetic
precepts."
Temple Beth El, Shaarey
Zedek and Bnai David are
delineated in this portion of
the Ferry book. They are de-
scribed as follows:
Lloyd)
"(Frank
Wright's influence is dis-
cernible in the design of
the Cong. Shaarey Zedek
synagogue in Southfield
(1962) by Albert Kahn
Associated Architects
and Engineers, and Per-
cival Goodman, associate
architect. The ridge of the
gabled roof tilts upward
toward a projecting con-
crete wall.
"Dramatically poised on a
bluff above Northwestern
Highway, the building re-
calls a Hebrew tabernacle
or tent of biblical times. On
the interior a stained glass
window, symbolizing the
burning bush, follows the
angle of the gable and sur-
rounds a 40-foot high Torah
Ark in Israel marble. The
corridor around the
sanctuary is enclosed with
mullioned windows that re-
semble sections of the Star
of David.
"The Temple Beth El on
Telegraph Road at 14 Mile
Road in Birmingham also
suggests a Hebrew taberna-
cle or tent. Built by Minoru
Yamasaki in 1973, it is a
brilliant masterpiece of de-
sign and engineering with
graceful soaring lines. The
structure consists of two
pairs of sloped concrete col-
umns, at the bima and
entrance ends, supporting
paired concrete ridge be-
ams, which frame a lon-
gitudinal skylight.
"The end columns are tied
together near the ground by
elliptical ring beams run-
ning the length of the space.
Suspended between the
ridge beams are steel roof
cables, which support the
lead-coated copper roofing.
Below the ring beams there
are continuous windows,
which combine with the
skylight to provide ample
light for the lofty interior.
On the bima stands a tall
bronze Torah Ark designed
by the sculptor Bernard Ro-
senthal.
"The Cong. Bnai Da-
vid Synagogue (1966)
on Southfield Road at
Nine Mile Road in South-
field is more subjective in

its architectural sym-
bolism than the two
synagogues already dis-
cussed. Designed by Sid-
ney Eisenstat of Bev-
erly Hills, Calif., it is a
square building with
sweeping arches that ap-
pear to touch the earth
and heaven. Inside the
lower arches is a circular
sanctuary with stained
glass walls of various
colors to signify the •
grimage from earth
heaven. The Torah Ark is
recessed in an inner
wall."
While "The Buildings of
Detroit" is devoted to the
Metropolitan Detroit Area;
the subject matter in this
volume, the vastness of the
subjects covered, the profes-
sional enthusiasm with
which the architectural ac-
complishments are treated,
are certain to give this vol-
ume national significance.
Educated at the Univer-
sity Liggett School, at
Cranbrook and at Harvard
University (BA degree,
1937), he pursued
graduate studies at the
Harvard School of Design,
worked as an architectural
designer, and has served as
an instructor in art and ar-
chitectural history at
Wayne State University.
Ferry is the honorary
curator of architecture,
chairman of the Friends of
Modern Art, and a trustee of
the. Founders Society De-
troit Institute of Arts; he is
an honorary member of the
Michigan Society of Ar-
chitects.

Longest War
Crimes Trial
May Be Ending

BONN (JTA) — The
longest war crimes trial
ever held in West Germany
may be nearing its end.
The Duelleldorf court
where nine former SS offi-
cials have been on trial for
more than five years on
charges of complicity in the
murders of 250,000 inmates
of the Maidanek death
camp, is expected to hear
the summations by prosecu-
tion and defense some time
this month. But first, the
judges and attorueys will fly
to Warsaw Monday to hear
testimony from the final
witnesses.
Responsibility for pro-
longing the trial rests witi,
the defense lawyers.
though it was to h-av
wound up by the end of last
month, they submitted a
flood of new petitions and
invited additional wit-
nesses.

S. African Jews

NEW YORK (ZINS) —
There are approximately
115,000 Jews among the 4.5
million whites in South Af-
rica.
The Jewish population is
at the same size that it l,vas
at its peak in the 1950s. The
white population of the
country includes 2.6 million
Afrikaners of Dutch des-
cent.

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