Once it was the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe Ungarn Shul - Now it is their East Seventh Street Dream Home

We haven't done much architectural blog content in the past. This story from the Times caught our eye today. It describes the transformation of the former Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe Ungarn Shul into an East Village couple's East Seventh Street dream home.

From the pictures it looks like current creative owners made a great transition from a sacred space into a stylish space. The article comes with ten "after" photos. You will have to imagine what the original shul space looked like.
On Location
Once Sacred, Now Their Showcase

DOMINIQUE CAMACHO is passionate about the old architecture of the East Village. She holds sustainability workshops, supports preservation as a member of the East Village Community Coalition and, for much of the past 15 years, has gazed enviously at a former synagogue on East Seventh Street.

“I was captivated by the history and grandeur of the facade,” said Ms. Camacho, 40, an entrepreneur who operated a T-shirt boutique on Avenue A before opening Sustainable NYC, an eco-friendly store, last year. “Sometimes I’d pause, walk up the synagogue steps and touch the door.”

Built in 1908, the Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe Ungarn — which means Great House of Study of the People of Hungary — features a handsome limestone facade and a double set of pilasters supporting a pediment. After falling into disrepair, it was converted by a developer in the 1980s into five private residences.

So when the top floor of the converted synagogue came on the market in 2006, she and her partner, Gary Hirschkron, 51, president of AXA Partners, a life insurance company based in Farmington, Conn., jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, they were too late — the apartment was already in contract.

A bit crestfallen, Mr. Hirschkron looked sporadically for other places within a two-block radius of Tompkins Square Park, but never found anything half as exciting. Then about a year later, while casually surfing the Web over breakfast, he saw that the apartment was back on the market. The couple sprang into action and immediately put down a bid. They ended up buying the 1,600-square-foot apartment for $1.5 million in 2007.

Despite decades of neglect and renovations, the spiritual history of the space was still palpable. In the double-height living room, where the prayer sanctuary was originally situated, daylight streams through the large arched windows that bathed the ark and congregation in light. ...more...

No comments: