The design focused on two principal goals—to orchestrate an inviting building that would encourage students to venture within and to create a place where spirituality would be part of everyday life. The exceptional nature of the building’s program is the presence of the three principal movements of Judaism worshiping at the same time, in the same place. Texas Hillel is an important community center for the more than 4,000 Jewish students at The University of Texas at Austin.
Bold siting on the corner of a busy West Campus intersection and glass curtain wall gently define the precinct of the building while inviting the passer-by to venture within. A variegated wood screen that wraps the building at the second story provides shade for the building and at the same time hints at being a Sukkah—a temporary structure with religious symbolism from the harvest festival of Sukkot. The screen’s ability to both provide religious symbolism and perform the function of making exterior spaces more inviting encourages student occupation and presents the students themselves as the primary image of the building.
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