New Design Approved For Jerusalem’s Giant Glass Museum Of Tolerance

museum-of-tolerance jerusalem
The glassy new plans for the Museum of Tolerance reflect badly on the nearby environment.

During the festival of Sukkot, Jews worldwide are camping out in their organic Sukkahs, touching the earth, reconnecting. Karin wrote about sustainable booths all over Jerusalem, while another, snazzier Sukkah is currently being displayed on Manhattan’s Union Square.

Contrasted with these structures steeped in tradition, the new, cheaper plans for the Museum Of Tolerance in Jerusalem seem glaringly unwholesome. The back end of the six-storey will be covered in glass from “top to bottom” according to the LA Times, though some architects suggest glass is among the least efficient building materials to use in the Middle East, and caused controversy in the past since it is being built on the site of a former Muslim cemetery.

“This museum is more than a building, it is an eternal message of understanding, togetherness, and unity.” – Shimon Peres, President of Israel.

The ghosts of the past

Israel’s Supreme Court approved the building project provided that Israel’s Antiquities Authority were consulted to ensure that any remains recovered during construction would be appropriate relocated, and there is supposed to be a barrier between the graves and the building’s foundation, wrote David Ng.

The original plans drafted by Frank Gehry had to be discarded as a result of the economic slowdown. Mr. Gehry’s museum would have cost $250 million to build, but in November, 2009, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Board of Trustees decided that such plans inadequately reflect today’s economic realities.

“After a nearly three year delay due to court proceedings in Israel and, given the severity of last year’s financial crisis, the Center has made the decision to design a more modest project that can be fast-tracked and completed within a three to four year time frame,” they announced on their website. tolerance-museum-jerusalem

Moving on

The new six storey building, which will in part face Independence Park in Jerusalem, was conceived by Israeli Chyutin Architects, and includes three storeys below ground and three above ground, according to the paper.

This 150,000 to 160,000 square foot building will accommodate exhibition space, a theater and educational center, as well as a garden and amphitheater outside.

The new price tag is $100 million, 50% of which has already been raised according to Rabbi Marvin Hier who is the founder and dean of both the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance.

Solar cooker

Chyutin Architects are the same team behind the Haifa Court House, the Jerusalem Court House, and the Givataim Theater.

The museum’s environmental impact comes into question as a result of the liberal use of glass which is supposed to make the building warm and inviting, according to Mr. Ng.

“Glass is designed to trap heat,” Fortune 500 architect Romi Sebastian told Gulf News; he especially criticizes the use of this building in the Middle East (particularly in Dubai), where solarity is high. He says it acts like a “solar cooker,” and that we should instead deflect as much heat as possible.

Glass also requires high cooling loads, otherwise the temperatures inside would be unbearable.

:: LA Times

More architecture news from the Middle East:

Tel-Aviv’s $60 Million Eco-Office Tower A Go

Artocos: Architectural “Musical” Activism in Dubai

Israel’s New “Green” Synagogue to Raise Environmental Awareness

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