[UCP Books]: Beth Sholom Synagogue

“Set in the context of Wright’s designs for religious architecture, Siry’s brilliant, clear, and thoroughly documented volume is the definitive work on the magisterial Beth Sholom synagogue. This beautifully written book is indispensable for our grasp of the architect’s late work.”

Anthony Alofsin, University of Texas


Beth Sholom Synagogue
Frank Lloyd Wright and Modern Religious Architecture
Joseph M. Siry

Publication Date: December 15, 2011 $65.00 • £42.00
International publication date: January 09, 2012 978-0-226-76140-4 (cloth)
In a suburb just north of Philadelphia stands Beth Sholom Synagogue, Frank Lloyd Wright’s only synagogue and among his finest religious buildings. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007, Beth Sholom was one of Wright’s last completed projects, and for years it has been considered one of his greatest masterpieces.

Beth Sholom Synagogue provides the first in-depth look at the synagogue’s conception and realization in relation to Wright’s other religious architecture. Beginning with Wright’s early career at Adler and Sullivan’s architectural firm in Chicago and ending with the larger works completed just before or soon after his death, Joseph M. Siry skillfully depicts Wright’s exploration of geometric forms and structural techniques in creating architecture for worshipping communities. Siry also examines Wright’s engagement with his clients, whose priorities stemmed from their denominational identities, and the effect this had on his designs—his client for Beth Sholom, Rabbi Mortimer Cohen, worked with Wright to anchor the building in the traditions of Judaism even as it symbolized the faith’s continuing life in postwar America. With each of his religious projects, Wright considered questions of social history and cultural identity as he advanced his program for an expressive, modern American architecture. His search to combine these agendas culminated in Beth Sholom, where the interplay of light, form, and space create a stunning and inspiring place of worship.

Filled with over three hundred illustrations, this remarkable book brings us an illuminating portrait of the crowning achievement of this important aspect of Wright’s career.

Joseph M. Siry is professor of art history and American studies at Wesleyan University. His books include The Chicago Auditorium Building: Adler and Sullivan’s Architecture and the City; Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store; and Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright and Architecture for Liberal Religion.

For additional information, please contact Laura Avey at (773)702-0376 or lavey@press.uchicago.edu.


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