“WE ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF A PRESENCE”: SET OF SIX ORIGINAL BLUEPRINTS FOR FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S MAGNIFICENT BETH SHOLOM SYNAGOGUE
WRIGHT, Frank Lloyd. Six large original architectural plans for Beth Sholom Synagogue. Elkins Park, 1956. Six large sheets, original blueprints (48 by 36 inches).
Six original plans by Frank Lloyd Wright for the electrical, plumbing, lighting and air conditioning systems for his famous synagogue. Showing the full building sketch and footprints.
“Wright had an impact on American culture and global architecture of a magnitude that posterity has only begun to grasp” (ANB). Wright’s last project before his death was the Beth Sholom Synagogue— the only synagogue he ever designed. He accepted the commission in September 1953 and by the following March submitted a design to the Board of Directors of the Congregation. The new Synagogue was to be a glass-roofed temple, intended to evoke Mount Sinai, towering above the suburban houses of Elkins Park “like a prehistoric ziggurat. Wright managed to make the building look both ancient and futuristic. Either way, it clearly does not belong to our time… He was certainly out of the mainstream, but his idiosyncrasy makes him look more forward-thinking than some of the most orthodox modern minimalists— whose buildings he used to call ‘flat-chested” (Beth Sholom). Described by rabbi Mortimer J. Cohen as a “promised hosanna,” there is nothing secular about Beth Sholom: “We are in the presence of a Presence” (Brendan Gill). This set of six original blueprints for the synagogue’s electrical, plumbing, lighting and air conditioning systems (labeled 15, 14, N-E2 and A1-3 respectively) was apparently prepared for the individual sub-contractors; one of them shows the full building’s footprint.
Near-fine condition, with a few minor creases and closed tears.