The memories and memorabilia of the holocaust are of extreme pain and rupture.
People where forced through the most horrific states that constantly tested their ability to maintain themselves as human beings and as the individuals they knew themselves as.
This era left inconsolable scars in those who survived it and in the generations to come.
Architecture, when encapsulating these memories should, as we believe, transform these notions to physical manifestation.
Architecture should participate in the educational process as a powerful didactical tool and set the condition that will allow the visitor to experience these images, films, recordings or objects in the strongest and most focused way.
Architecture should not represent the past but present it with all its strength of spatial notions that will allow meditations and self-absorbence.
Architecture should never be apathetic, and especially when involved in capturing these notions.
Our scheme suggests a vertical layering of time: past, present and future.
One enters the building through the void, a space captured between the past capsule underground and the future education capsule above. Our present and presence negotiate between those extremes and yet are inseparable from the surroundings.
Only then can one start the processional descent towards the past, underground or the ascent to the future above.
The past capsule is about the abyss, obstacles, coldness. darkness, suppression and closure. It is imagined as concrete, rough and polished, in various textures.
The future capsule is about elevation, clarity, openness, light and endless horizons. Its skin is of Corten Steel that rusts to an earthy and warm color.
The void, at ground level, is the intersection between these, ourselves and the social and physical landscape.
A paved path, the width of the building, leads from the commons to the HHRC. It directs the visitors to the circulation tower and slope that leads to the exhibition spaces at the underground level. The central slope splits at the middle into two slopes and the visitor meanders through the column forest that continues into the temporary exhibition space, reception and gathering area.
It is a space of transition between the outside world and the world encapsulated here, between states of perception and senses.
Between the two entrances is another split ramp down to the Permanent Exhibition Space, which is located beneath the main entrance ramp, and gains strength through the compression of space. The reception desk is at the midpoint and overviews an the entrances and exits to the exhibition areas. A narrow corridor leads to the Bennett D. Katz library. It is an underground passage that connects the two buildings. Its walls provide additional area for exhibitions.
The circulation tower leads to the upper capsule that inhabits the classrooms. the administration and the computer research room.
The Classroom is located at the end of the capsule with a glass wall that opens the space to the spectacular view.
The future expansion suggested location is at the other end of the capsule offering open view to the other direction.
The design suggests a building that will signify its strength and uniqueness and yet at the same time will have a dialogue with the landscape that surrounds it. It stands above to be prominently seen and yet rooted, absorbant and reflective.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel, New York, Oct. 27, 1986