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Capturing the Beauty of Tribeca's Undulating Synagogue

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All photos by Chris Mottalini

As more houses of worship are torn down to make way for luxury buildings—or, even more weirdly, repurposed as condos—it's nice to have a reminder that many of the city's religious institutions are architectural gems in their own right. And amid the glorious Gothic cathedrals and stone churches found throughout much of the city, there are some more modern gems—including the Tribeca Synagogue, which was designed in 1967 by architect William Breger. (According to a recent New York Times profile of the building, Breger's design is meant to evoke an "abstract representation of an eternal flame.")

The building stands out not just amid the city's houses of worship, but also on its own block: The undulating structure is sandwiched in between two 19th-century Italianite structures, providing an unexpected contrast. "It almost smacks you right in the face when you walk by," says photographer Chris Mottalini, who recently went inside the synagogue and captured this series of photos. He's wanted to photograph the building for years—"it's just impossible not to become fascinated with it," he explains—and one day finally walked in and asked if he could poke around. "It turned out they were looking for someone to photograph the main interior space, which is absolutely fantastic and stunning; like nothing I've ever seen," he says.

Tribeca Synagogue [Official]
Chris Mottalini [Instagram]
TriBeCa Synagogue's Memorable Building and Stubborn Architect [NYT]