12/21/2011

Museum of Tolerance, Jerusalem

The Museum of Tolerance, located in the heart of modern Jerusalem next to Independence Park, is a symbol of hope and represents an ideology greatly needed in a region historically plagued with forced beliefs, traditions and customs.


Designed by Bracha Chyutin, Michael Chyutin, Jacques Dahan, and Ariel Noyman the minimalist structure is very transparent yet concealed in most areas. The building contrasts heavily with the surrounding neighborhood which is diverse in architectural characteristics, representing the history of Jerusalem architecture from the 19th century up to today. The MOTJ is to act as a bridge between the different architectural  styles present in its location on one hand, while stylistically using contemporary architectural language and exploring advanced technology and materiality.



The MOTJ is planned to host a variety of different activities: exhibition spaces, an eduction center, a theater, a multipurpose hall, offices, a restaurant, gift shop, etc.  The activities are diverse in the types of visitor communities they serve, in their operating hours, in their environmental requirements of each specific activity, encouraging undisturbed access for various communities to their appropriate destinations.




The new public square, outlined by an elongated structure which traces the southern and eastern borderlines of the site, incorporates several different elements: a sunken archeological garden, enclosing the remains of the Roman aqueduct discovered at the site's center, a terraced amphitheater, a grove and various public paved areas, for the various activities of visitors.



The building is divided into two horizontal wings: a three story floating upper wing which hosts the theater and social meeting spaces, and a 2 level lower sunken wing which contains the children and adult museums exhibition spaces.  The entrance floor hosts a restaurant and gift shop. A four level lobby connects the floating wing with the sunken wing.  The garden is connected to the street level by a terraced slope which can be used as a seating area for outdoor performances.  It has 1200 seating capacity.




The architectural language of the MOTJ building sets it apart from its backdrop as a visual icon, while still maintaining continuity in terms of building height and materials with the urban fabric around it.  Towards the park, the structure has glass facades, which relate to the glass park facade of the future courthouse.  The stone structure floats over the gap and the glass walls of the building's entrance.  This allows for visual continuity between the city and the park, preventing the building from becoming an impenetrable barrier.  The design of the facades, the roof and underbelly as a geometric envelope that connects folded stone- clad planes may be understood as echoing the geographical form of Jerusalem as a city surrounded by mountains.