St. Louis synagogues featured in Mid-Century Modern program on PBS

The former B’nai Amoona Congregation building in University City is an example of the Mid-Century Modern design style and will be one of two synagogues featured in Channel Nine’s “Mid-Century Modern in St. Louis” airing March 5.

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

As a fan of mid-century modern architecture — I am the proud homeowner of a ’50s style ranch — I’m looking forward to the Channel Nine’s “Mid-Century Modern in St. Louis” program airing at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5. The show features two local synagogues whose buildings exemplified this style of design with their clean lines, organic, streamlined forms and lack of embellishments. It reached its height of popularity after World War II, where these design elements were commonly used in residential homes.  

The show explains that when Congregation B’nai Amoona decided to move to University City, it hired world-renowned German architect Erich Mendelsohn in 1946 to design the new synagogue. The building, which now is home to COCA, was considered the first modern synagogue in the world. 

Also highlighted in the show is Temple Emanuel, which was designed in 1962 by William Bernoudy.

“Mid-Century Modern in St. Louis” tells the story of how such architecture represented progress by breaking from tradition and how the democratizing style had an impact on St. Louis for decades to come.