- Alexander Sorin (JSC Studio 7)
Menorah Jewish Multifunctional Centre
The Menorah, situated in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk, is one of the largest Jewish multifunctional centres in the world. The entire building complex, covering a total area of over 42,000 m², can be seen as a city within a city. The twentytwo storey building with its seven towers rises high above the Golden Rose Synagogue on Aleichem Street (Sholom Aleichema), which is now encircled by the multifunctional centre.
The mayor of Dnepropetrovsk, Ivan Kulichenko, as well as the main municipal architect, Julia Saenko, enthusiastically welcomed the project. On his travels, the mayor proudly showed the sketches and drawings to international colleagues, in particular his colleague from Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski. The result was a strengthening of the ties between the two cities. In Julia Saenko’s own words, ‘It’s good for the image of the city, a step forward for democracy, freedom of religion and revitalisation.’ Both the mayor and architect emphasise that the complex is intended to serve the entire city.
The Menorah project, completed in 2012, was undertaken as part of the many building activities taking place in this period. The EURO 2012 Football Championships, hosted by Ukraine together with co-host Poland, served as the catalyst for these building activities.
The Menorah has a great many functions and can accommodate over 10,000 visitors, or about a fifth of the entire Jewish population of Dnepropetrovsk. The first floor houses a shopping centre with different shops selling kosher food, kosher restaurants, coffee shops, an Internet café, and a bookshop. The upper floors have various areas devoted to education and special facilities for children, women, and senior citizens. The complex also houses a hotel.
A special place is occupied by the Jewish Memory and Holocaust Museum in Ukraine realised in cooperation with the Israeli Yad Vashem institution. The museum houses a very special collection of modern Jewish art as well as an area reserved for exhibitions focusing on modern Jewish life. There is also space available for temporary exhibitions. The museum and collection are supported financially by Igor Kolomoysky who, like Gennady Bogolyubov, is a Private Group Partner.
The architect, Alexander Sorin, was given great freedom by the client in the design. Igor Kolomoisky, president of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine, as well as Gennady Bogolyubov, chairman of the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk, explain: ‘We gave the architect a free hand in designing a very large Jewish community centre.’ In doing so, Sorin was assisted by Gennady Axelrod, the developer of the concept and building manager.
The architect based his design on seven robust towers, which encircle the historic neoclassical Golden Rose Synagogue with columns and a tympanum in the front façade. These seven towers symbolize the menorah. This seven-branched candle holder is an ancient symbol of the Jewish nation and symbolises the burning bush seen by Moses on Mount Sinai.
The towers appear to ascend upwards in steps, three steps coming from Aleichem Street and three from Demian Bedny Street. Two towers have seven storeys, two have twelve storeys, and two have seventeen storeys. They all converge on the highest tower of them all, a tower with twenty-two storeys, which is 77 meters high. A pavilion-like structure is situated on the roof of all seven towers. Also the Menorah Hall can accommodate 1500 visitors for various events.
A complex as large as the Menorah centre requires some serious internal infrastructure as well as extensive underground parking space and a specially designed communication cable system. The Reynaers CW 50-HA façade system with hidden accessories was used for the façade.
- Alexander Sorin (JSC Studio 7)
- Sfera Plus
- Pavel Kolotenko
- Rubicon Trading LCC (General contractor)