Chabad of Midtown Facade




3,000 sq ft


This 12-storey building on 5th Avenue used to have three equally narrow neighbors to its south, and one slightly wider one to the north, making for an interesting street frontage. Today, in the place of the three buildings to the south one large office tower dominates this block.

Chabad-Lubavitch, which owns the building, is a dynamic Jewish movement that is far more focused on outreach than other orthodox Jewish groups. And at this location adjacent to 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in the center of Manhattan, it offers services to traveling Orthodox from all over the world.
Therefore, this small building, now diminutive in relation to its modern neighbor needed a beacon. Rather than radically modify this century old building, we chose to restore what we could of the second floor, and design a screen wall and canopy that attracts attention while downplaying the retail tenant’s signage as much as possible, especially from the famous intersection, home to the famous lions of the New York Public library.

The finned glass canopy provides a light, airy and unique approach with a delicate touch. The screen wall similarly adds a layer to the existing building without taking anything away from it. The glass is coated with text from the Shema, a prayer reminding the Jewish people of God’s presence that is found on small parchment scroll contained in mezuzahs on doorposts of Jewish homes all around the world.