The Center for Jewish Life at Drexel is the headquarters of the school’s Hillel organization and the overall home for Jewish activities at Drexel. The three-story, 14,000 SF structure sits contemplatively between two Victorian homes, with its most notable exterior feature being the irregularly-patterned brick and glass verticals—reminiscent of the candles of a menorah—that comprise the facade.
Key to the interior is the structural support system, which uses only four columns. Arranged in a rectangular shape and pushed to the interior of the building, the columns create a circulation area that rings each floor while clearing a central void occupied by two of the building’s most important components: A two-story monumental stair that can also be used as a gathering space, and a third-floor glass-enclosed courtyard. The courtyard’s enclosure encourages visitors to look skyward, enjoying a view described by the architect as “free of the works of man.”