Gwozdziec Synagogue Roof


The synagogue roof frame being installed in the museum. 

Development of this multi-faceted project took place over ten years.  It is an 85-percent-scale replica of the roof structure of a Polish synagogue, designed to reacquaint people with architectural and cultural aspects of Polish synagogues, virtually all of which were destroyed in World War II.  The replica, 34 ft. square and 30 ft. tall, now stands in the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw.  On the interior, students from HandsHouse Studio (who co-organized the project), replicated the beautiful and intricate painted ceiling decorations.  The result is both stunning and moving.

Client
Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Partners/sponsors
Handshouse Studio, Maria Pietchotka, Irene Pletka, Assn of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, Boeing, Orlen,  Petr Ruzicka, Massachusetts College of Art

Client heroes
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Andrzej Cudak, Robert Supel

Notable aspects
Virtually all the synagogues in Poland were destroyed in WWII. This international project recreated their important cultural architecture and singular form. Challenging assembly site (inside museum). A multidisciplinary effort with extensive, elaborate painting by HandsHouse. Used only traditional tools--axe-hewn and pitsawn. Pitsawn. Double roof--synagogue interior and shed exterior.  Curved bell tower.  Multi-year project, 2011–2013.

TFG leaders
Alicia Spence (US), Barbara Czoch (UK), Jacob Bach-Jensen (DK), Gerry David (UK) Jim Kricker (US).

Blogs

News

Tube
Installation schematic / YouTube/MikeBeganyi
Raise the Roof trailer / polishsynagogue.com

Photographers
Gerald David, Joel McCarty, Ed Levin

Narrative
TIMBER FRAMING 101, TIMBER FRAMING 108


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