Word of an OMA-designed building for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple has been in the grapevine for months. The firm was on the short list this past spring along with Kengo Kuma & Associates, Morphosis Architects, and Steven Holl Architects for the 55,000-square-foot event space across the street from the institution’s recently restored 1929 Byzantine-Revival sanctuary. Now, a new building is moving forward with a name, an architect, and a fundraising campaign.
Koolhaas is officially the architect for the Audrey Irmas Pavilion, even if renderings are still under wraps. Shohei Shigematsu and Jason Long will lead the project out of OMA’s New York office.
Irmas, a philanthropist, art collector, and temple congregant pledged $30 million to lead the fundraising campaign for the new building. She is raising those funds by putting a Cy Twombly in her personal collection up for sale. The entire proceeds of the sale of the painting will benefit The Audrey Irmas Foundation for Social Justice, with a portion earmarked for the OMA pavilion.
The new building, proposed to open in 2019, will accommodate all sorts of community events: weddings, bar mitzvahs, and galas. The project would be the firm’s first cultural building in California and first commission from a religious institution.
OMA’s commercial project, The Plaza at Santa Monica, seems to be sluggishly moving through that city’s political channels. It passed the City Council in June, but still faces community opposition due to its height.