Beth Am Israel

Penn Valley, Pennsylvania

The members of Beth Am Israel sought a design for their new synagogue that would clearly distinguish the sacred from the everyday and support crucial components of worship, study, and social activity. 

VMA produced an innovative but functional plan that would utilize beautifully composed materials and meet the synagogue’s hope for a home that would be a physical representation of shared community values. Ample windows embrace the views beyond and flood the sacred space of the sanctuary with natural light.

The team devised a unique organization that allows the classrooms to circumscribe the sanctuary and be connected to the sanctuary by  moveable partitions. This accommodates overflow worship spaces during the high holidays but can be reverted to smaller spaces for other events and gatherings. As such, the synagogue is a place in which worshippers can fully experience and deepen their ancient faith while having a space that meets contemporary needs.


Religious Art & Architecture Design Award, Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art & Architecture and Faith & Form Magazine, 2005

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Size: 25,000 sf
Budget: $6 million


Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape

Beth Am Israel

Penn Valley, Pennsylvania

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