sacred structures

Waterfall Mikvah–Mikvah Chana of Beth Israel Westport/Norwalk

Published in the Jewish Press, February, 2008.

A mikvah is a ritual bath house primarily for Jewish women who attend once a month, solo, for spiritual renewal; it must contain a certain amount of rainwater to be deemed halachic, law-abiding.

With its stepped octagonal roof, the design suggests a frozen water fall. The exterior glass stair to the elevated garden,  coupled with the soaring roof, suggests a kind of  stairway to heaven.  For spiritual renewal, the congregant plunges at night  once a month into the deep ritual pool. The interior ceiling, painted midnight blue, ascends and unfolds.

The exterior walls are of rough-hewn Jerusalem stone recall the Kotel (Wailing Wall) in Jerusalem. They are surrounded by a moat of water. It is said that the very first “mikvah” was a river in the garden of Eden. Thus we carved out exterior stairs, in a river-like gesture that splits the preparatory building, and then leads to a roof garden. Up in the garden there are seats for group study by women congregants, and for private prayer. And one may view the sculptural roof up close.



Concept sketch








A Holocaust memorial proposal for Bologna, Italy. Barbs/Bodies Descending–Skeletons/Souls Rising up. (See Holocaust memorial for brief)