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Wilshire Boulevard Temple to break ground on contemporary addition designed by Rem Koolhaas

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“A dramatic tribute to the Temple’s vitality and relevance in Los Angeles”

Courtesy Wilshire Boulevard Temple

Work is set to begin Sunday on a futuristic-looking addition to the 1929 landmarked Wilshire Boulevard Temple, senior rabbi Steven Leder announced Wednesday.

The structure will be the first project in the city of Los Angeles for architecture firm OMA. (OMA’s first and only other project in the LA area is in Beverly Hills.) The design for the project is led by OMA founder and Pritzker Prize winner Rem Koolhaas and partner Shohei Shigematsu, in collaboration with Gruen Associates.

The design “embod[ies] the vision and intention of our congregation to be a dynamic part of the 21st-century spiritual and cultural conversation that is Los Angeles,” said rabbi Steven Leder.

The wedge-like building will hold a chapel, terrace, ballroom, meeting rooms, kitchen, performance areas, and rooftop garden. LA-based Studio-MLA designed the building’s courtyard, sculpture garden, and rooftop, as well as landscaping along the corner of Wilshire and Harvard, where the project is located.

The space, called the Audrey Irmas Pavilion, will be used by the temple but also be available to the public for events. A partnership is in the works with the Annennberg Foundation to offer community programs centered on “purposeful aging” at the pavilion once it is complete.

In a statement, Koolhaas called the new event center “a dramatic tribute to the Temple’s vitality and relevance in Los Angeles.”

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple and its congregation has been active in Los Angeles since the 1860s. The domed temple on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown opened in 1929. Its sanctuary features black marble columns, murals by Hugo Ballin, ornate 30-foot-long chandeliers, teak doors, a large stained glass window, and impressive organ.

The temple is a city landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.

The pavilion is expected to be complete by the end of 2020.