Why doesn’t anyone seem to know that the Philly suburbs are home to this Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece??
I’ve been on architectural pilgrimages to Fallingwater and Oak Park but never knew this was right here, just 20 minutes from home. The building is bizarre -right off a main road in the middle of suburbia – it rises up like some sort of modernist spaceship. It must be amazing to see it all lit up at night. It’s still an active congregation, but they offer tours and have a small museum with a great film telling the story of the collaboration between Wright and Rabbi Cohen (all the more interesting, because Wright was not known for taking anyone’s opinion into consideration when designing – even the person paying). Because it is still in active use, you can touch, take pictures and even sit in the Wright designed chairs – while dodging the buckets placed on the floor to catch rain from the leaky roof.
Field Trips: I thought the building was so fascinating that I organized a visit for our home-school class this year. We studied modernism in literature last year and are covering world religions this year – so it was a twofer. It was fun to show the kids how the “make it new” aspects of modernism permeated all the arts: literature, poetry, art and architecture. Our tour guide for both visits was Toni, who was super friendly and happy to share information about her experiences as a member of the congregation.
Tobey says: It was cool.