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Nancy Chin (designer)
Tobias Guggenheimaer (thesis advisor)
Robert Alpert (thesis advisor)
Robert Prouse (thesis advisor)


November 1992


The goal of the following thesis is to prove that the Beth Sholom Synagogue is an edifice which symbolizes the true Jewish spirit by the use of lighting design as an integral central element to the architecture which heightens and reinforces the religious experience.

The Beth Sholom Synagogue is a modern temple which through its architecture and lighting reveals profound insight into Judaism. The central theme of this synagogue is Mount Sinai- the mountain of light. Representative of Mount Sinai is the triangle. The triangle is used as the unifying device in the design of the temple and is carried through from its most central feature, a corrugated glass roof it chandelier, to lectern. Other Jewish symbols such as the Menorah, the Holy Ark, the Wings of Seraphim and the Sacred Inscriptions are expressed in the architecture as a part of the while. To fully grasp the true weight and depth of the Beth Sholom Synagogue as a successful symbol of the Jewish faith, one must review and understand the following:

I. The history of American synagogues and how they failed to reveal through its architecture
what is intrinsically Jewish. Only until the modern movement in which Frank Lloyd Wright was a primary proponent, were the historical styles rejected. What had evolved then was a modern idiom of synagogue design which was much more reflective of the true Jewish spirit. 

II. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s interpretation and abstraction of Judaism and its

expression in architectural form of the Beth Sholom synagogue. III. Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of the architecture and lighting as unifying elements to assemble and perpetuate a continuity of design and theme of the synagogue: Mount Sinai IV. Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of architectural language both as an element to aesthetically and spiritually enhance the Beth Sholom Synagogue, as well as a tool to allow the congregants to see the leader, the other congregants and provide enough light for the worshippers to read their prayer books.



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