JW3, London Centre for Jewish Life, England Community Development, English Architecture

JW3 : Centre for Jewish Life, London

English Community Building – design by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

4 Jul 2013

New Jewish Community Centre

Design: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Location: London, England

JW3: London’s New Centre for Jewish Life to Open in September 2013

On 29 September, London’s newest community and cultural centre JW3 opens its doors to the public for the first time.

Jewish Community Centre London
image © Visualhouse

Inspired by the successful Jewish Community Centre (JCC) of Manhattan, JW3 has been ten years and £50m in the making. The newly constructed building on the Finchley Road in Hampstead will be, in the words of Dame Vivien Duffield: “A vibrant destination for London, open to all who have an interest in Jewish life”.

Funded by her Clore Duffield Foundation and other private donors, and designed by award-winning architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, JW3 aspires to be a place where Jewish culture is made, not just celebrated. Its vision is to be at the heart of a unified, diverse community, inspired by and engaged in Jewish arts, culture, learning and life.

Jewish Community Centre London
image © Visualhouse

Raymond Simonson, JW3’s CEO Designate says: “We will realise this vision by creating outstanding events and activities whose diversity reflects the diversity of our community; by increasing the quality, variety and volume of Jewish conversation in London and beyond; by bringing Jews of all stripes together and by being open and accessible to the widest possible range of people”. Starting on 1 October, the launch season’s programme of over 1,000 events and activities includes instantly recognisable names and innovative formats. The “In Conversation” series will see Kevin Spacey discussing the place of the arts in the community and later in the season Sir Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre, will reveal the secret to making brilliant theatre, along with the highs and lows of his career.

Jewish Community Centre London
image © Visualhouse

Ruby Wax will perform her emotional rollercoaster “Losing It” which uses humour to de-stigmatise mental health issues. As part of the “Out of the Box” series, which enables real time audience participation, Zoë Wanamaker will talk about the highlights of her 40 year acting career and the legacy of her father Sam. In the same series Edmund De Waal and Gemma Blackshaw will be discussing “Facing The Modern”, the exhibition of Fin de Siècle Viennese portraiture opening at the National Gallery.

For children and the forever young the “Edible Film” format of interactive cinema kicks off with the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory featuring Gene Wilder, complete with goodie bags and golden tickets! Those who enjoy being covered head to toe in chocolate will have the opportunity to come back to add a few more colours at the ‘Little Chagalls’ after school art class, which will offer hands on exploration of the work of Jewish artists.

Jewish Community Centre London
image © Visualhouse

JW3 is located, as its name suggests, in NW3 on the route between central London and the city’s Jewish heartlands to the north. Sitting directly opposite the Camden Arts Centre, JW3 establishes a lively new cultural hub for north London.

The four-storey building houses an array of flexible community spaces set above a new piazza fronting the main road. The spaces are arranged hierarchically with the most public at ground level spilling out onto this new open space, which will host ice-skating and food markets, outdoor cinema and dance.

The heart of the building is Zest – JW3’s ground floor restaurant, bar and café. Run by award-winning chefs from Made in Camden and Ottolenghi, Zest will provide delicious Modern Jewish cooking throughout the day, from coffee and freshly-baked pastries in the mornings to multi-course al fresco dinners on the piazza at night.

Jewish Community Centre London
image © Visualhouse

To the north of the café-restaurant is a double volume multi-purpose hall, lined in timber. Its retractable bleacher seating provides a 250-seat auditorium or, in banquet mode, a 200-seat venue for public and private events. On the south side of the café and restaurant is a luxurious 60-seat screening room.

The first floor reception is reached by a bridge over the piazza and this leads to a generous central stair. On the mezzanine and first floors are a learning resource centre, a dance studio with sprung floor, an art room and a fully-equipped demonstration kitchen.

The top floor of the building is taken up entirely by the day nursery with its own dedicated outdoor space. Run by Active Learning, it provides 85 places for children aged six months to five years.

Alex Lifschutz, Director of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, said: “JW3 gave us an opportunity to explore the opportunity a building gives in focusing and further extending Jewish cultural life in London. Fundamental to our approach was to create a robust building that can be adapted to the needs of the community today and in the future. This is a building that needs to be cool enough to attract younger generations and yet be comfortable for older members of the community.”

Open from 7.30 am to 11pm daily, JW3 represents a step change for the Jewish Community, providing it and everyone interested in Jewish life with a world-class building and a high quality programme of events equal to the very best in the capital.

JW3 Centre for Jewish Life images / information from Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

JW3 Jewish Community Centre, London : main page

Previous News for the new Jewish Community Centre

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Location: Finchley Road, London, England, UK

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