Update on Nová Synagóga restoration project in Žilina, Slovakia

Inside the cupola of Zilina synagogue, April 24, 2014. Photo © Dalibor Adamus courtesy of Nová Synagóga


Work is progressing on the renovation of the important modernist synagogue in Žilina, Slovakia, with the aim of transforming it into a contemporary arts center. Designed by the German architect Peter Behrens and built in 1928-31, the synagogue was long used as a university lecture hall and a cinema and stood empty for years. It was returned to the ownership of the Jewish community, which rented it for a symbolic fee to the Truc Sphérique civic association, which is heading the conversion.

We posted several updates about the work  and innovative funding campaigns carried out during 2013. You can see a full 2013 report (in English) on the project’s web site.

Project leader Marek Adamov now reports that since the beginning of 2014, much work has concentrated on the interior of the building. A major achievement was the restoration of the large Star of David set amid geometric forms painted on the interior of the cupola over the sanctuary.

He adds that currently “we are starting final cover of the roof – titanzinc metal, we have partly fundraised for it, partly we are still searching money.”

The project has applied for a major Norwegian grant  “for the complete restoration of the interior and outside walls and paintings; [for this] we need more then €300,000 euros, which is very difficult to raise from small donations or sponsorship.”

If such major funding comes through from this or other sources, the restored synagogue will be able to be inaugurated by the end of 2015 or spring of 2016, he says. If not, he cannot predict when work could be completed.

In the meantime we are working on the rest [that is] needed – mainly infrastructure – lights, electricity, heating, ventilation, doors, technical equipment, toilets … there we expect to find smaller sponsors, producers, as well as donations from [our] future audience. … We do what we can. Sometimes a miracle happens and we get a larger amount from somebody; then we can plan works for two to three months — sometimes we go from one week to the next.


See dramatic, detailed photos of the process of restoring the cupola — and the Star — in this Flickr stream.








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