December 5, 2013

To be commissioned to refurbish and extend the Woolhara Chevra Kadisha is an extraordinary honour. In the Jewish tradition, what could be loosely translated as the ‘funeral home’ is a key site and symbol of the faith, the place where the human body gives up the ghost and the spirit ascends to its rightful place. Architecturally speaking, the red brick monolith sitting opposite Centennial Park is impressive, if somewhat time-worn. We will extend the lofty, Classical chapel through it tri-archway into a pared down volume that will echo the original in a tone of monastic simplicity. Here, the Shomer will sit Shiva in a space for reflection on eternal truths. The administrative functions will be rehoused in new digs, and the basement preparation chambers will be given a streamlined allure. As for that imposing exterior, we will in all humility add a cube brick volume along the Oxford Street axis, a loose knitting of the most humble of materials and perhaps a metaphor for the building blocks of a life. We consider this mitzvah, a good and honourable deed.

Author: Nick tobias