Chicago, IL

"The Divine light that could ll the world is hidden. It is the mission of the Jewish People to bring back that light and have it ll the world with incredible beauty."
While on a spiritual journey, one discovers many events along one’s path. Some events are personal,and some shared. Many events are readily apparent, while others slowly materialize. The Spertus Institute of Judacia is a vessel to be lled with such instances. Navigation through the secular world provides similar experiences. For example, the pedestrian encounters a number of physical and phenomenal events in the urban fabric over the passing day.

"I used to think being Jewish was like carrying around an old piece of baggage. Now I think of it like a prism. You hold it up to the light and it reects back wonderful things."

The spectrum of the Jewish culture is reected within the Institute’s interior volumes. As light passes through the building’s envelope, the Spertus Institute’s constituent elements are revealed by way of the building’s programmatic structure. The Institute’s elements are divided into two categories: event and threshold program. Light is admitted through secondary, threshold program and gathered into a series of prismatic voids. Inextricably woven together, apertures in these thresholds separate the Spertus Institute into its constituent elements revealing prismatic, program voids or event spaces.
This programmatic patterning is also apparent in the natural and built context of Chicago. For example, in neighboring Grant Park, natural ora act as thresholds dening event spaces which gather people and phenomena year-round. Similarly, light lls… From the street to the lake, from the earth to the sky, light lters across and through Chicago and its inhabitants.
The Creator is merciful in the way he introduces major changes. In the example of the transformation from day to night and night to day; he does not blind with a sudden strong light or frighten with one abrupt drop into darkness, but rather slowly, beautifully, makes the transition from one to the other.
Within the institute, event program ll with light; with Judacia. Light is gathered and released gradually, as event program absorbs physical and spiritual light over the course of the day. During daylight hours, natural light is gathered through ssures of varying sizes, shapes and locations.
Gradually, light begins to slowly seep from the building with the passing day. As night falls the Spertus institute, now lled with light, begins to share its essence with the community.