The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue is a beautiful building on 303 Dodge Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports that it’s "believed to be the first synagogue designed to achieve the highest level — platinum — in the [USGBC's LEED] rating system." That’s probably true. The JRC board of directors mandated LEED Platinum certification, but my search of LEED Certified projects does not list the JRC synagogue yet. Nevertheless, it’s a fine example of green architecture in the religious building context, which is something we don’t see too often.
Designed by Ross Barney Architects, the $8 million, 32,000 sf building opened its doors this month. Originally, the plan called for a 42,000 sf building, but Evanston’s zoning ordinance required a scale back, so the 32,000 sf building is full of flexible, convertible-type spaces.
Reflecting the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam ("Repairing the World"), the JRC community is committed to the healing of the world around through congregational education, activism, advocacy, and consciousness-raising. This building is part of that commitment.
Image Credit: Ross Barney Architects.