Bearing witness

Coogee Synagogue


This detailed project resolved a number of architectural, structural, aesthetic, spiritual and cultural issues for the Jewish community as they commissioned a refuburished interior for their synagogue in Coogee. Complex etching, sandblasting, carving, enamels and lustres combine with traditional leaded glass to forge a powerful spiritual narrative.

A 23m x 1.5m illustrated glass balustrade functions as both structural safety barrier and modesty panel. Its content takes the form of a notional timeline, focusing on the City of David and its place in the history of the Jewish people– 'next year in Jerusalem'.

Daylight is 'charged' as it streams through shimmering colour to fall on the textured imagery of the balustrade glass. Reflection, refraction, absorption, veiling and trasparency interact with complex historical and cultural narrative that is etched, blasted and fired into the very substance of the work, echoing the journey of the Children of Israel.

Fifteen leaded glass windows based on the Psalms, push familiar texts to a point of abstraction; releasing the congregation to enter stories personally, engaging with the Psalmist as he experiences his Lord afresh with every new day.

An exhibition space and donor wall complete a trancendent architectural space for this community shule.

Creative Director, Designer: Peter Campbell
Technical Director, Fabrication: Rick Allen
Design Director: Lea Barnett