The Museum of Tolerance’s location is a meeting site of three main streets which differ in character and function and carry diverse architectural characteristics representative of Jerusalem architecture from the 19th century up to today. The architects wanted the MOTJ building to integrate into the pre-existing urban setting on the one hand, while asserting its own unique character forming an iconic structure using contemporary architectural language and exploring advanced technology and materiality. The MOTJ building aims to stand out in the skyline of Jerusalem.
The MOTJ hosts a variety of activities: exhibition spaces, an education centre, a theatre, a multiuse hall, offices, a restaurant, a gift shop, etc. The activities have a diverse audience, operating hours, environmental requirements and interaction with the urban context. The developed building concept answers the requirements of each specific activity, encouraging undisturbed access to different destinations.
The architects designed an elongated structure which traces the southern and eastern borderline of the site. The structure orchestrates the three surrounding streets, into a coherent urban space-a new public square for the rejuvenated city centre of Jerusalem. The design of the public square incorporates several different elements: a sunken archaeological garden, enclosing the remains of the roman aqueduct discovered at the site’s centre, a terraced amphitheatre, a grove and public paved areas for different activities.
The building is divided into two horizontal wings: a three storey floating upper wing which hosts the theatre and social meeting spaces and a two storey lower sunken wing which hosts the exhibition spaces- the so-called “dark box.” The entrance floor located on the level of the public square hosts a restaurant and gift shop The entrance floor leads up to the floating wing or down to the sunken one. A four-levelled lobby connects the floating wing and the sunken one. Part of the floating wing is suspended over the ground level, creating a gap, a doorway, from the city to the park encouraging passers by to enter and experience the MOTJ.
The archaeological garden serves as an outdoor space for the sunken wing, contributing to the activities of the exhibition spaces. The garden is connected to the street level by a terraced slope which can be used as a seating area for outdoor performances.
The iconic architectural language of the MOTJ sets it apart from its backdrop while maintaining continuity in terms of building height and materials with the urban fabric around it. Located on the borderline between the city and the park the design makes references to the surrounding buildings which are stone-clad and glass, encouraging a dialogue with the 19th and 20th century stone and the future glass façade courthouse. The stone structure floats over the gap and the glass walls of the building’s entrance. This allows visual continuity between city and park, preventing the building from becoming an impenetrable barrier.
The differences in design between the city and the park facades diversify and enrich the structure’s visual appearance creating an element of surprise.
ARCHITECT: Chyutin Architects, Givataim, Israel, www.chyutin.com
. LOCATION: Jerousalem. DATE: 2010.
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