Brewing a spiritual sense over an urban fabric by framing the old and new kindles a fresh perspective in its spaces. Audrey Irmas Pavilion, unveiled by OMA, elegant with a peculiar shift and tilt, harnesses the tradition and modern civic needs in an ingenious fad. The Audrey Irmas Pavilion for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple marks the first cultural building in the city of angels.
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Religious institutions have always played a critical role in communities and their activities. To convene people in multiple ways, the temple’s campus hosts a fluid vision. The question being how a new pavilion could harness the gathering energy simultaneously respecting historical ethnicities and contemporary necessities?
The pavilion, a machine for the congregation, forges innovative acquaintances with the existing campus events and ushers the urban realm as a new community anchor. The architects enthused to craft an iconic expression subtle enough to complement the ‘iconicism’ of the abutting temple. The designers intervened in a humble skew, courteously adapting the context in contrast.
Trailing from a box model for an event space. The form alters and extends along one side, streaming away from the temple, while respecting the historical opus. To the west, the building slopes away by sieving a buffer and framing a new courtyard between the two. The pavilion leans south, away from the historic school, splitting up to a sky courtyard. The parallelogram thus formed soars to the main urban corridor, Wilshire Boulevard, to propel a new urban presence. The form imbues basic shapes from its neighbours and carves a relational expression. Enigmatic and quaint, the design weaves a counterpoint to the temple that is at once reverent and progressive.
Inspired by the temple’s interior dome geometries, the facade extracts the ideologies within it. Hexagonal figures frame as rectangular windows within. These frames locate in a rotated echo, fashioning a distinct pattern. The panels thus augment the building’s volume while channelling a human-scaled texture breaching its mass.
The diversity in scale and spatial volumes integrate to expose a flexible space for gathering. The pavilion comprises three distinct gathering spaces articulated as perforated voids through the building such as a large event space, a chapel and terrace and a small sunken garden. The three spaces interlock and stack atop one another to establish vantage points to waltz in and out. An array of openings screens these spaces as light filters in and frames magnanimous views of the temple and historic school, shuffling visitors to its intricacy and profoundness.
The main event space on the ground level echoes the temple dome by dropping the arc and extruding it north, weaving Wilshire Boulevard to the school courtyard. The entirety of the vaulted, column-free expanse can host diverse programs such as banquets, markets, conventions, performances, and art events. A shimmering oculus provides an ecstatic view through the void to the dome of the historic temple.
The second level ropes a more intimate chapel and outdoor terrace. A trapezoidal room and a terrace facing west, framing the arched stained-glass windows of the historic temple. The sunken garden, the third void, links smaller meeting rooms on the third floor to the rooftop with expansive views of Los Angeles, the white Hollywood letters, and the hefty mountains to the north.
Audrey Irmas Pavilion in its explicit fashion establishes a diverse collection of spaces, from sermons and studies to B’nai and not mitzvah and concerts, to work and relaxation.