Sussex Heritage Trust Awards Win

We are very happy to announce that we have won a Sussex Heritage Trust Awards for our work on the Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue (BHPS) in the Ecclesiastical category.

The awards are now in their 18th year and are designed to recognise and reward the highest quality conservation, restoration and good design of newly built projects while encouraging the use of traditional skills and crafts.

An imaginative, inspirational and contemporary refurbishment of a former gymnasium to create a welcoming multi-purpose space for religious services, festivals and special commemorations, principally for the local Jewish community while welcoming all faiths.

The judges particularly liked the clever use of natural light using roof lights and the innovative use of subtle tints in the light shafts to complement the colours of the modern light fittings.

Also of note was the sliding wooden screen in the Sanctuary which conceals the Ark. This used long strips of wood in rainbow hues to represent inclusion and diversity. Attention to detail extended to the well-crafted contemporary lecterns in beech and walnut which complemented elements of the design in the Sanctuary, and elsewhere the integration of old elements with new such as the display of old stained glass windows and mosaics.

A truly community-led project working within a restricted budget.
— Sussex Heritage Trust - Judge

Our journey with BHPS started back in April 2014 when we were approached to evolve an original concept by Theo Rubin to further develop the existing site at 6 Lansdowne Road into a synagogue and community building.

Today the internal layout of the ‘new’ synagogue offers a large sanctuary, office, library, educational rooms, pastoral care, a social area, kitchen and toilet accommodation over 2 floors. Spaces flow into each other linked by generous foyer spaces and a sculptural staircase that leads to the first floor housing the social area overlooking the sanctuary through large glazing.  A series of roof lights have also been installed to provide daylight to all habitable rooms, some with specifically created light shafts to guide the light.  The design of the new building also covers sustainable credentials, with well insulated walls and roofs, roof lights to prevent overheating and a heat recovery unit to reduce heating cost and provide good ventilation to all areas

The ark where the Torah Scrolls are kept was an item of absolute importance during the construction process, and now, on entering the sanctuary, the visitor is immediately confronted with an impressive ark at the front creating a vivid focal point. It has been built in timber by a creative carpenter in vibrant colours and makes a bold statement in its rainbow hues, about inclusion and diversity, proclaiming a welcoming message to all those, who wish to journey with the community.

The project itself totally fitted in with BHPS’ ethos of inclusivity and interfaith; the architect, was a German Sikh. The builders were Hungarian Catholics, the carpenter Christian, and the principal of the building company (GCS Builders) married to a Muslim.

The constraints of being in a conservation area and neighbouring properties adjacent to the east, south and west included detailed discussions and arrangements with their owners all laid down in a Party Wall Agreement to provide safe access to the external fabric and security for the neighbours.

We are all very proud to have the works recognised by The Sussex Heritage Trust with this award, it is a credit to the collaboration between ZSTa, the Project Architect, Mohna Jolly and our fantastic clients.