Chabad of South Dade
The original Bryan Methodist Church in Coconut Grove was designed in 1925 by the renowned architectural firm of Kiehnel and Elliott. The project for the expansion of the original church seeks to recover Kiehnel and Elliot’s original intentions for the site. These early architects envisioned the approach from Main Highway as the formal entrance to the property, from which the most important view of the building could be appreciated. The original plans reveal the design of an outdoor lawn where the congregation would have gathered to hear William Jennings Bryan, a leading member of the community, deliver homilies from the outdoor pulpit attached to the existing building. Today, this important forecourt has been replaced by a utilitarian parking lot, and thus the congregation has lost its most important outdoor gathering space.
The new design is rooted in the long-standing tradition of ecclesiastical, courtyard complexes. The design proposes a paved, stone court along Main Highway, flanked by two, one-storey, arcaded buildings. The north wing contains administrative offices and a large, dining hall; and the south wing provides classrooms for religious teaching. The new court will become the primary public space of the complex- providing an appropriate vantage point from where to view the existing main sanctuary. At the rear of the property, the design incorporates a small Mikvah (a building for ritual bathing), and a new parking grove to replace the displaced parking lot along Main Highway.