The Jewish Community Centre in Manhattan represents a template for the design of complex public buildings in dense urban areas – one that is contextual, unimposing in footprint and aesthetically pleasing.
Because of the constrictions of the centre’s 30-metre by 30-metre site, the program within the JCC is organized vertically. The gross floor area of 12,000-square-metres elegantly accommodates a wide array of activities spread over thirteen above-grade floors.
Each cluster of related uses – library, meditation and study spaces, and sport and fitness facilities – is grouped and interconnected throughout the building. Glazing is heavily emphasized on the lower floors of the structure, which offer views of the activities inside and gives the JCC a glow at street level. Although the building is contemporary, it takes its cues in massing and articulation from the former tenement buildings that are common in the area