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Rendering vs. Realty: Saitowitz's Temple Beth Shalom

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Chron architecture critic John King has said his piece on the new Stanley Saitowitz/ Natoma Architects-designed synagogue for Congregation Beth Shalom. King likens the building to a "giant menorah in a silvery frame." We, however, are going to go with a more eloquent "inverse half-pipe." The eye-catching form and rich interiors (including the ephemeral "shadow menorah") have earned a lot of praise and the building already up for national and international awards, but many neighbors still see it as an eyesore that doesn't make any attempt to relate to the immediate context of the neighborhood— a design attitude perhaps best revealed in the tense, awkward relationship between the half-pipe and the more traditional SF home right next to it. Looking at the finished project against the rendering, it's immediately apparent that the basic form stayed true to the initial design. The half-pipe— or rather, the Sanctuary space— steals the show, while the adjacent corner structure, containing the library and other accessory spaces, seems to have been value-engineered down from a glowing glass box to a more industrial, zinc-covered monolith that dominates the corner of 14th Avenue and Clement Street.
· New synagogue livens up Richmond District [SF Gate]
· Saitowitz Temple Rises, May Resemble Skate Park to Some [Curbed SF]