Hastings-on-Hudson, New YorkEdward I. Mills & Associates in Association with Perkins & Eastman, Architects Edward I. Mills, Designer,1995Located adjacent to the Old Croton Aqueduct. Early in the design process, the decision was made to preserve as many of the existing trees as possible, and to minimize the impact of the new building on the site's natural contours.The building program consists of a Sanctuary and Chapel, as well. This project is a Reform Synagogue on a three acre hillside site as, educational and administrative facilities for the religious studies which are operated by the Temple. One of the principal challenges presented by the congregation was the charge to design uniquely sacred architectural spaces to satisfy the programmatic need for flexibility. The building is 15,000 s.f. in size and was built on a modest budget of approximately $2,000,000 or about $125 PSF.The building mass is organized to reflect the topography of the site with the Sanctuary located on the Upper Level and the other functions of the lower level. The articulation that resulted from this approach is that of stacked volumes which are held together by the landscape and by the poured-in-place reinforced concrete wall on the west elevation.In the entry lobby, the sculptural steel and granite stair reinforces the idea that the building's principal space is located on the upper level, upon reaching the upper level the Sanctuary is entered through partitions that are clad in anigre veneer panels; these walls consist of two segments, each sixteen feet long, which pivot open to allow an increased seating capacity on High Holidays. The south wall of the Sanctuary is a curtain wall, which visually reinforces the connection of the building to its site. In addition, the Sanctuary opens out onto the site, which is landscaped to provide an outdoor space that protects the Sanctuary from the sun and elements.A glass, steel, and concrete staircase is part of the procession of hierarchically arranged spaces, from the first-floor entry, leading to offices and classrooms, to the second-floor sanctuary.The arcing entry wall(left) establishes a datum line that forms the base of the building. Changes in the ceiling height on the second level(below) mimic the topography of the site, reinforcing the relationship between the synagogue and the hill it is built on.The pattern of the carpet on the second floor (plan left), custom designed by architect Ed Mills, is influenced by the local fieldstone. The small chapel (right) is the normal resting place for the custom designed bimah (below) which holds the Torah for reading. The Ark (right), seen to the right of the bimah, holds three Torahs and the eternal flame. During the High Holidays, the anigreveneer partitions can be opened and the seating rearranged to allow for a larger congregation. On these occasions, the locations of the bimahand the Ark are adjusted to maintain the proper orientation.