A community centre for Melbourne

April 21, 2015 by Rachel Mihalovich
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The members of the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation have formally endorsed the master plan for a Jewish community centre in the heart of Caulfield.

Sally Draper, Rodney Horin, Rabbi Ralph Genende and Robert Weil

Sally Draper, Rodney Horin, Rabbi Ralph Genende and Robert Weil

In 2012 the Caulfield Hebrew Congregation (CHC) announced its intention to undertake a major redevelopment of its site in Inkerman Road, North Caulfield.

After two years of careful planning, due diligence, consultation and discussion, the development as moved one step closer.

Rabbi Ralph Genende, who had the vision to initiate the plans for an innovative and dynamic community centre is thrilled by this latest development and the prospect of many years of thought and groundwork becoming a reality.

He said: “On a recent trip overseas, I visited a number of Jewish community centres and realised how essential modern flexible spaces are in reflecting and housing the type of cutting-edge and contemporary Jewish activities that we offer especially for our younger members and their families.   The programs that we run for all of our members and the wider community have been growing at a rapid pace over the past 7 years and this redevelopment will provide the much-needed physical infrastructure to expand them as well as create new ones.”

An artist's impression of the new centre

An artist’s impression of the new centre

In acknowledging the expert advice received from many experienced members of the community, in areas such as town planning, fundraising, and community services, Rodney Horin, Chair Redevelopment Project is confident that “this bold redevelopment will lay the foundation for future generations, just as the founders of Caulfield Shule built the current building for our generation”.

Sally Draper, Director, Sally Draper Architects, has skilfully designed a community centre that fulfils the brief provided to her by the Board.

Draper said: “Our involvement in the master planning process from the outset has been to translate the Board’s clear vision into a functional design with significant flexible spaces that will meet the needs of the community now and into the future.

We have achieved this by exploring from first principles the possibilities for a contemporary orthodox Shule in the Australian context. The resulting building will be unlike any other shule. Integrated community spaces will extend out to protected garden courtyards, encouraging usage by all ages and for a wide range of community activities.

The iconic symbolism of the existing Shule will be enhanced by the new building which will provide a strong but welcoming presence, clearly identifiable as one of Melbourne’s most significant Jewish Institutions”

 Robert Weil, President, reiterated the board’s excitement at reaching this milestone and said “I was encouraged by the support of our members for the redevelopment and look forward to progressing this significant development”.

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