Debra Gerod, FAIA, LEED AP – Partner of Gruen Associates – led a tour of the Audrey Irmas Pavilion for the Women of Wilshire (WOW) on a blustery Tuesday afternoon on February 22, 2022. WOW is a group formed of members of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple (WBT), a 1929 Byzantine-Revival sanctuary and oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles. Debra is an architectural practitioner, the Partner-in-Charge and Project Manager for the project, as well as a recent WBT member.
The tour of the newest addition to the Glazer Family Campus included ~30 WOW members, Executive Director of WBT Donna Nadel, Dr. Jennifer (Jen) Wong who is the Executive Director of the Annenberg GenSpace’s new home on the Third Floor of the Pavilion and Nicole Lawson, a Senior Associate and the Director of Marketing at Gruen Associates.
The tour began in the Courtyard to discuss the existing WBT’s and the new Audrey Irmas Pavilion’s relationship to each other. Focused on the Main Event Space, the group was awestruck by the interiors, which echoed the Temple’s dome, the wood paneling in the expansive, column-free event space and its capacity to host diverse programs such as banquets, markets, conventions, performances and art events. The group proceeded to panoramic views of the city from the Roof, and toured the Third Floor for a brief talk about the mission of the Annenberg GenSpace by Dr. Wong, followed by the intimate Chapel and Terrace on the Second Floor and back to the First Floor via the elevator or grand stairs down. After final Q&As, the Patio was set for a memorable farm-inspired lunch and 40 mph winds that eventually broke with the sun’s rays.
The tour presented the Women of Wilshire the opportunity to meet in-person, amid declining Covid cases in Los Angeles. The new building not only forms a connection with the existing WBT. It also serves as the backdrop for long-term friendships realized through a shared history and stories as congregants of the synagogue, and their past, present and future relationship with their religion, culture, each other and Los Angeles. As well, new stories and experiences are in the making at the Audrey Irmas Pavilion gathering place.
To find out more about the Audrey Irmas Pavilion, visit https://www.gruenassociates.com/project/audrey-irmas-pavilion-at-wilshire-boulevard-temple/ or https://audreyirmaspavilion.org/.