Page D1.1 . 03 May 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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Navy Temple

by William Lebovich

In addition to the usual challenges facing an architect designing a synagogue, Joseph Boggs confronted a few special ones at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Any contemporary U.S. synagogue designer has to create a sanctuary large enough to hold the High Holiday full house while creating a space that still feels intimate when mostly empty during the weekly services.

Boggs, principal of Boggs & Partners Architects also had to design a building that would serve the entire Naval Academy as well as the Jewish population — 125 out of a student body of approximately 4000 midshipman.

The new Levy Center is an addition to Mitscher Hall, which houses the academy's All-Faiths Chapelas well as an auditorium and a wide passage that connects the wings of the residential Bancroft Hall. Mitscher Hall was also renovated as part of the Levy Center project.

Sited between the main block of Bancroft Hall and the Severn River, the Levy Center serves as the highly visible, symbolic entrance to the academy as viewed from the water. The low-domed entrance pavilion, while suggesting American synagogue architecture of the early 20th century, was intended by Boggs to remind viewers of the home of Thomas Jefferson, Monticello, which was purchased and rescued from neglect by Commodore Uriah P. Levy in the mid-19th century. Levy was reportedly inspired by Jefferson's belief in religious tolerance.   >>>

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Miller Memorial Chapel in the Levy Center, the new synagogue designed by Boggs & Partners Architects for the U.S. Naval Academy.
Photo: William Lebovich

ArchWeek Image

The Levy Center, with a domed entrance pavilion.
Photo: William Lebovich


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