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Familiar Facades
Photo: Paige Foster
Ever feel like you’ve seen a building in more than one city? Think of your favorite city scenes and their facades. What if you saw one building in three other cities or six or nine, maybe 12?

Photographers Andrea Robbins and Max Becher have documented the replication of a building in 12 locations around the world. They named the project “770” in recognition of the street address of the original building:  770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn.

Up until 1940, the neo-Gothic building had an unremarkable history. Then it was purchased by members of the Lubayitcher movement, ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews. It was used by their rebbe (leader) Yoseph Yitzchak Schneerson. Upon his death in 1950, his son-in-law Menachem Mendel Schneerson became the seventh rebbe. He was so respected that his followers believe him to be the Messiah, a belief that is proclaimed on at least one billboard in the city.

Copies the Design

Even though he died in 1994, his followers are so convinced of his holiness that the movement often copies the design of 770 Eastern Parkway when it sets up centers in other cities. These centers are places for followers to gather. Examination of the Robbins and Becher photos reveals that these centers are not exact replicas. They vary in size (depending on the size of the available lot) but clearly repeat the neo-Gothic elements that define the original home.

Beside Brooklyn, centers have been built in Montreal, Canada; Milan, Italy; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Los Angeles, California, USA; as well as Israel, Argentina, and Australia. Centers are under construction in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and Santiago, Chile. These centers range in size from clubhouse to city block.

For more details about “770” and to view the pictures, check this site:  www.robbinsbecher.com.

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