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Shaarey Zedek

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1962, Albert Kahn Associates and Percival Goodman. 27235 Bell Rd.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

Sited prominently adjacent to the major expressway (MI 10) into Detroit from the northwest, Shaarey Zedek looms dramatically against the horizon and recalls Frank Lloyd Wright's Unitarian Meeting House (1949–1951) in Madison, Wisconsin. This complex on a forty-acre site contains an education building with twenty classrooms and a library, an office wing, and numerous chapels. The focus of the plan is the sharply peaked sanctuary, with two flanking social halls, whose form has been variously interpreted as the tabernacle in the desert or a holy mountain. The great, jutting, concrete pylon is enhanced by Jan Peter Stern's sculpture Mount Sinai. Even more dramatic than the exterior is the interior of the prayer hall, where Robert Pinart's stained glass window depicting the Burning Bush echoes the thrust of the roof. At the front is a forty-foot-tall marble ark with a Tree of Life at its core. The sanctuary seats 1,200 people; with the side partitions opened, the combined sanctuary/social hall has a seating capacity of 3,600.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Shaarey Zedek", [Southfield, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 171-171.

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