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.

Local Partner
Museum of the History of Polish Jews

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

Local Partner 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).



Installation schematic / YouTube/MikeBeganyi
Raise the Roof trailer /

Gerald David, Joel McCarty, Ed Levin


Click on a photo to enlarge.

Project Short Description

85%-scale Polish synagogue roof reconstruction for museum. 16,000 bd.ft.

Project Details

  • Location Sanok and Warsaw, Poland
  • Year 2013
Visit Website

Related Video

Innovative solid-sawn timber, expert service

Douglas fir and much more!
Learn More >

Thanks to our visionary partners

Get the Latest News