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November 06, 1987 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-06

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PURELY COMMENTARY

Architects

Continued from Page 2

Detroit building and the
Chrysler assembly plant in St.
Louis, were eight commercial or
institutional structures as well
as ten industrial facilities.

terfaith Round Table of the National
Conference of Christians and Jews.

Gershwin

Continued from Page 2

It should be noted that Sol King had
a major role in the creation of the
Washington Post building and took
great pride in supervising that task.
Although King was not associated
in designing the Shaarey Zedek
building he was in an advisory capaci-
ty behind the scenes. The Legacy of
Albert Kahn there is this description of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek
the present Shaarey Zedek structure.

The synagogue center for
Congregation Shaarey Zedek in
Southfield, Michigan, com-
pleted in 1963, was a project in
association with Percival Good-
man, Architect, of New York Ci-
ty. Noted for his design of ec-
clesiastical buildings, Goodman
was primarily responsible for
design and the Kahn Associates
for the working drawing and all
engineering and mechanical
aspects. In his impressive work,
The Buildings of Detroit,
published by Wayne State
University, W. Hawkins Ferry
refers to the influence of Frank
Lloyd Wright's ideas on the
design of the synagogue:
"The Wrightian formula has
found monumental expression
in the Congregation Shaarey
Zedek Synagogue in Southfield.
The sanctuary juts out like a
giant Hebrew tabernacle or tent
on a bluff overlooking Nor-
thwestern Highway. Stained
glass windows symbolizing the
burning bush follow the slope of
the roof. On the interior of the
sanctuary is a 40-foot marble
ark of the scrolls?'
Bold and forceful in its ex-
pression, the sanctuary design-
ed to accommodate a congrega-
tion of 1,200, may be expanded
for the High Holy Days to seat
3,600 people. Containing,
besides the sanctuary and its
two flanking social halls,
spacious lobby and foyer areas,
five chapels, a library,
classrooms, meeting and craft
rooms, the building reflects the
multi-use requirements of a
modern synagogue center.
Many artists contributed
their talents to various parts of
the building. Jan Peter Stern
was responsible for the exterior
sculptured pylon behind the
Ark which symbolically
represents Mount Sinai with ten
figures representing the
Decalogue inscribed on it, and
Robert Pinart designed the
stained glass panels that frame
the marble Ark. Thomas
McClure was the sculptor of the
ten metal Hebrew letters ap-
plied to the Ark and that sym-
bolize the ten commandments.
Interior design was by Naomi
Goodman of New York City;
landscaping by Eichstedt,
Grissim, Young & Associates of
Detroit; and acoustical con-

suiting by Bolt, Beranek &
Newman, Inc. of Cambridge,
Massachusetts.

The authors of this illuminating
work also included descriptive
references to two early Temple Beth El
buildings. The earlest of this century is
thus described:

Kahn became independent
of Mason in 1902. In the follow-
ing year he completed the Tem-
ple Beth El on Woodward
Avenue. Set well back from the
street, the building recalls the
Pantheon in Rome, but the
decorative treatment is Louis
XVI. Kahn's early interest in
engineering problems is il-
lustrated by his use of steel
trusses supporting the dome.
Altered beyond recognition, the
building is now the Bonstelle
Theatre.

establishment of annual tribute lec-
tures to Wallenberg at the University
of Michigan. This is a continuing
dedication to a noble and courageous
U-M graduate.
To Sol King also goes appreciation
for Jewish cultural attainments, his
knowledge of Scriptures and Talmud,
his mastery of Hebrew and Yiddish. It
is an eminent architect's respect for a
colleague.

Redstone Acquires
Recognition

The most recent of the Beth El
buildings preceding the present one in
Bloomfield, is described as follows:

It is not surprising that
Kahn's most monumental
building was his second Temple
Beth El built in 1927 further out
Woodward Avenue in Detroit
than the first one. The purely
classical facade with its impos-
ing portico and temple door-
ways struck a note of awesome
dignity. Although the temple is
quite different in concept from
the library of Columbia Univer-
sity by McKim, Mead, and
White, a similarity may be noted
between the Ionic colonnades of
both buildings.

Sinai Hospital, one of the Kahn
buildings, received due recognition.
The entire volume is a tribute to a
great architect who rose from im-
migrant status to receive honors and
academic acclaim for genius. Detroit
could not be properly described without
the highest salutes for Albert Kahn and
his associates.

King Inspired U-M
Wallenberg Honor

To the name of Sol King should be
added recognition of the great service
he inspired in assuring recognition of
the war hero and rescuer of tens of
thousands of Jews in Hungary — Raoul
Wallenberg.
He knew Wallenberg as a classmate
in the Michigan College of Engineering
and Architecture. Some 15 years ago he
undertook to raise 'a fund for the

Louis Redstone

Recognition is due at this time to
another prominent architect who has
gained acclaim- for his achievements.
Louis Redstone just celebrated the 50th
anniversary of Louis Redstone
Architects.
Redstone has gained international
fame. His creations include the present
Jewish Community Center, Manufac-
turers Bank, the International Ter-
minal at Metropolitan Airport and the
Buell Building at Lawrence Institute of
Technology. They are just a few of his
many creations.
Louis Redstone has a rich record of
communal and professional activities.
A former president of the Michigan
Chapter of the American Technion
Society, he retains leadership in the
movement here. He is a member of arts
commissions of local, state and national
movements. He is a Fellow of the
American Institute of Architects and is
active in the Engineering Society of
Detroit. He has roles in many other ar-
chitects' associations and is a medal
winner for numerous achievements. He
has written several illustrated books on
art and architecture.
He is a University of Michigan
graduate, with a master's degree from
Acad from Cranbrook Academy of Arts.
His wife Ruth researched most of his
writings. She has a leadership role in
the Women's Division of the Detroit In-

Jolson's interest: the momentum
of the tune, the surprising
change of key between verse
and chorus, the humor — and
the mammy reference in the
lyric. On the spot he decided he
would sing it in the touring Sin-
bad and, more important, he
would record it (which he did on
January 8, 1920).
Jolson's
interpretation
reflected Gershwin's own
vigorous, propulsive perfor-
mance, and the recording
became an instant hit. Within a
month the frugal Dreyfus
bought the entire front page of
Variety to proclaim "Al Jolson's
Greatest Song" and on the back
page described it as "the Hit of
Hits" from the "Most Successful
of All Singers?' Unlike DeSylva
and others, Gershwin and
Caesar did not choose to share
authorship (its earlier publica-
tion would have precluded that),
but Jolson's smiling
countenance decorated the new
cover. Both sheet music and
Jolson's recording sold in the
millions; there were other recor-
dings as well.
Swanee, despite a few
characteristic touches, is not ex-
ceptional Gershwin, but it serv-
ed an important purpose: it lit
up his name in Tin Pan Alley
and literally spread his name
across the nation and eventual-
ly to Europe. No more could
anyone, as did one reviewer of
La-La-Lucille! refer to him as
"someone named George Ger-
shwin."
It was in fact the unexpected
success of Swanee that gave
Gershwin his "lucky break." It
brought him to the attention of
Broadway producers. His share
of the royalty income (reported-
ly $10,000 the first year) enabled
him to concentrate on scores
rather than interpolations,
although it would be a while
before he hit his stride. Swanee
had catapulted him, after a long
wait but then almost overnight,
into "the select circle of com-
posers in New York," that he had
so fervently hoped to join.

This is one of the many sensational
stories attached to the Gershwin name
in the noteworthy Jablonski biography.
The entire book is filled with anec-
dotes, musical experiences of the Ger-
shwin era, details of Broadway
triumphs, the many in which Gershwin
and associates had major roles.
The anniversary of Gershwin's pass-
ing is the occasion for tributes to a great
creative personality. It is commendable
that an important local movement has
chosen to be a party to the recollections
of and tributes to commendable honors
accorded to an unforgettable musical
genius.

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