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The most dramatic feature of the new Sanctuary will be the construction of a wrap-around balcony around a more open downstairs space, providing a greater sense of connection all around, with the ability to create more intimate spaces depending on the number of people attending an event. This will create a unified sanctuary space, where the congregation will feel embraced and connected to one another no matter where they are sitting, with improved sight lines and direct focus towards the Ark.


The new balcony level will have doors that lead out on the south side to an improved single level Kiddush courtyard, connecting the Heritage Sanctuary and Millie Phillips Building. Similarly, doors will lead out from the balcony of the north side, linking all the buildings on the campus to reflect the cohesive unity of the community with its different yet connected prayer styles and a wide variety of engaging activities. The lift will be able to provide access across the campus.



The vision for the upgraded Heritage Sanctuary space will enhance and maintain the Heritage features, honouring the history of the building and the many sacred moments which have occurred there. At the same time, it will update and modify the Sanctuary to ensure that the experience of the unique building will support the myriad of events, activities, services and other moments which will take place into the future.


After coming through our thriving and beautiful garden, we enter the foyer, the common entry point for the whole campus. We must bring our entry doors up to code, ensuring access for all, at the same time enhancing warmth and lighting.


The Ark, sadly falling apart after years of moving at the Yamim Noraiim, will be upgraded with a new ark that will evoke the beauty of the original in a respectful and contemporary manner. The setting around the ark is also to be reconstructed to more closely reflect the vertical proportions and detailing of the original architect Samuel Lipson’s design.


Two banks of skylights will significantly enhance natural light flooding into the sanctuary, creating a warm and sacred space with a seamless flow from balcony through the sanctuary into the hall.


We will embed the ability to use all the technology required for a myriad of events and deliver increased online quality and access to members as well as expand our reach to new memberships. These include spiritual, cultural and social events which will enable us to easily accommodate activities from movie nights, concerts and plays to spiritual services with instruments and voice.


The redesign of heritage sanctuary with balcony seating and drop-down projector screens will offer increased the flexibility of the space and allows for a range of learnings, cultural events, innovative and collaborative activities and spiritual services into the future.


The seating downstairs will be splayed at a different angle to provide a deeper sense of communal connection.

חדש ימינו כקדם



Scroll down to explore the restoration works.


When first constructed, the Heritage Sanctuary did not contain an upper storey mezzanine but instead was constructed with a “gallery” room above the entry foyer. This room was used as a function room as well as being capable of overlooking the Sanctuary space while separated by a glazed wall. However, immediately following the completion of the Sanctuary, the original architect, Samuel Lipson, was already designing an extended upper level seating area to replace this “gallery” space and accommodate the expanding congregation of Emanuel Synagogue. The larger balcony profile was based on a masterplan, which was never realised, that also expanded the sanctuary space.

Over the decades, the balcony has been extended further than was initially intended. This has produced awkward spatial relationships such as impaired sightlines from the upper level, separation of the upper and lower levels and ceiling heights to the lower area that are uncomfortably low. The new balcony will create a unified sanctuary space with improved sightlines including opening up more of the congregation space on the lower level, without loss of seating. The wrap-around balcony arrangement delivers a centralised focus on the Ark and will also assist in creating a more intimate inner volume when the Sanctuary is not fully occupied. The introduction of the side balconies provides opportunities for creating new connections to the wider synagogue campus.


The existing windows are to be converted to doorways providing direct access to the recently completed Kiddush Court at the same level as the New Sanctuary. The openings on the northern side will provide links to the future north wing of the campus.

The main ceiling is to be reconfigured to deliver two banks of skylights with diffusers that will bring natural light deep into the space. As with the other strategies, the skylights respect the original geometry of the space and strengthen the central focus on the ark and bimah.

A smaller skylight is proposed directly above the ark to wash the tapestry wall and ark.


Since its construction in 1941 Emanuel Synagogue’s Heritage Sanctuary has undergone a series of modifications in an ongoing process of evolution that reflects the changing requirements of the congregation and approaches to worship. This current proposal seeks to further adapt and enhance the Heritage Sanctuary to facilitate the current and future needs of the Synagogue, including continued growth, and to provide improved amenity and functionality while elevating the spiritual quality of the sanctuary.


The setting around the ark is to be reconstructed to more closely reflect the vertical proportions and detailing of the original architect, Samuel Lipson’s design. New operable walls will provide improved flexibility and operation. Splayed aisles and side seating will offer improved sight lines as well as a greater sense of connection, intimacy and focus toward the ceremonial spaces at the heart of the Sanctuary.


The proposed reconstruction of the upper level balconies will enable the removal of the existing support columns and address the uncomfortably low ceiling heights above the entries and rear seating of the Sanctuary. The scheme seeks to address the currently disjointed relationship between the main sanctuary and rear function room. The spaces are to be configured to read as one when the walls are opened. Bulkheads have been redesigned to provide a clearer, centrally focused space. Stained glass windows are to be incorporated on the northern wall and the battened ceiling will extend from the underside of the balconies through to the back wall of the function room. Tapestry wall finishes, timber wall linings and integrated lighting will add texture and warmth, unifying the two spaces. The audio visual and air-conditioning systems will be upgraded and carefully integrated to minimise their intrusion into both spaces.

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