Looking at Buildings

Building Types


Plan, Furnishings and Liturgy

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Synagogue, Floor Plan

The descriptions of the Mishkan ["TabernacleGlossary Term"] and the Temple in the classicalGlossary Term Jewish sources, in the Bible itself and in the Mishneh and Rabbinical writings, inspired religious architecture beyond Judaism: the places of worship of both Christianity (churches) and Islam (mosques).

The design of the modern synagogue is derived from the classicalGlossary Term Jewish literary sources. By clicking on the links in this sectionGlossary Term, find out more about the plan of the synagogue, its furnishings and symbols, as you move through the building from the outside to the inside, and inside from vestibule to Ark - from secular to sacred space.



A term used for the architecture of Ancient Greece and Rome, revived at the Renaissance and subsequently imitated around the Western world. It uses a range of conventional forms, the roots of which are the orders, or types of column each with its fixed proportions and ornaments (especially Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). Classical buildings tend also to be symmetrical, both externally and on plan. Classical architecture in England began c. 1530 with applied ornamental motifs, followed within a few decades by fully-fledged new buildings.


Two-dimensional representation of a building, moulding etc., revealed by cutting across it.


Canopied structure in a church or chapel to contain the reserved sacrament or a relic. Also an architectural frame for an image or statue.