House of the Book – Simi Valley, California - Atlas Obscura

House of the Book

A performance hall at the American Jewish University moonlights as a sci-fi film location set. 

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Influenced by the early Zionist movement, in 1947 Shlomo Bardin founded the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, a Jewish retreat tucked away in California’s Simi Valley.

One of the largest pieces of land that is Jewish-owned outside of Israel, the institute resides on 2,200 acres, and has acted as a springboard for several lofty figures in the Jewish community, produced many well respected Rabbis, and was the starting gate of the American Israeli Folk Dance movement. Merging with the University of Judaism in 2007 to become the American Jewish University, the organization is considered one of the most innovative Jewish cultural centers in the country.

Features of the expansive campus include organic gardens, a performing arts plaza, a residential village and an adventure course with a 50 ft. Carolina Wall, but one of the most remarkable elements to this stunning establishment is the House of the Book.

House of the Book was designed for the institution in 1973 by architect Sidney Eisenshtat. The largest hall on campus, the futuristic, cylindrical building serves as a performance hall and has moonlighted as a location for sci-fi productions, most memorably “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”. The corridors and breakout rooms are highlighted by stained glass windows designed by alumni Jerry Novorr. 

The House of the Book also served as the iconic headquarters of the Power Rangers during the early ’90s when it was featured on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Just don’t expect Alpha 5 to greet you when visiting!

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