Established in 1953, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority emerged as part of a law that created a new institution—called Yad Vashem, meaning “a place and a name”—committed to the study and commemoration of the Holocaust. Today, a four-acre site on Mount Herzl in western Jerusalem is home to a complex of Yad Vashem memorials designed by Safdie: the Children’s Holocaust Memorial, the Memorial to the Deportees, and the Holocaust History Museum. The first two are small structures located to the east and west, respectively, of the prismatic central museum.
Replacing the original building from 1957, the Holocaust History Museum includes a new reception building (Mevoah), a Hall of Names, a synagogue, galleries for Holocaust art, an exhibitions pavilion, and a learning and visual center. In addition there are underground parking and facilities for tour buses adjacent to a new entrance piazza. The overall program quadruples the permanent exhibition space.
The three memorials weave together to resonate and reinforce each other as devices of memory, particularly though their manipulation of light. In the Children’s Memorial, a single candle is reflected in multiple mirrors to give the impression of infinite space; in the central museum, the main exhibit galleries are below-grade and lit from above, creating a path that leads visitors from light to darkness and back to light. Within this path, shallow angular trenches in the floor filled with artifacts and other documentary material direct visitors from gallery to gallery. As visitors leave the museum, the tunnel’s walls open onto a panoramic view of a sunlit Israel, metaphorically linking the Holocaust to the country’s founding.
The Holocaust History Museum is a 650-footlong triangular concrete tunnel that traverses Mount Herzl’s western slope. Visitors walk through this dimly lit narrow space, tracing the development of Nazism and the horrors of the Holocaust, based on historical research into victims’ lives.
The Mevoah is an arcaded concrete pavilion, roofed by skylights and trellises casting an everchanging shadow pattern, likened to a Succah. The lower level accommodates a restaurant and other public services.
The historic museum consists of a mostly underground prismatic structure 18 meters high and 200 meters long that cuts through the Yad Vashem hillside, penetrating from the south and protruding out to the north. A network of skylit underground galleries align both sides of the prism.
The Hall of Names, located toward the end of the historic museum, is a conical structure extending 10 meters upward, housing the personal records of all known victims of the Holocaust. A reciprocal cone, penetrating deep into the Jerusalem bedrock below, echoes the upper chamber and commemorates those whose names will never be known.
Architect of Record and Interior Designer: Moshe Safdie and Associates
Exhibit Design: Dorit Harel Designers Ltd.
General Contractor: Minrav Eng. & Building Ltd.
Project and Construction Manager: Tafnit Wind Ltd.
Structural Engineer: S. Ben Abraham Engineers Ltd./Y. Gordon Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: B. Schor Consulting Engineers Ltd
Electrical Engineer: Etkin-Blum Electrical Engineers Ltd; Karl Valant;
Sanitary: A. Yosha Consulting Engineers Ltd.
Lighting: LAM Partners Inc.
Museum Exhibit Lighting: Topaz Electrical & Lighting Engineering Ltd.
Aluminum Consultant: Landman Aluminum Ltd.
Safety: Aldaag Engineers Consultants
Landscape: Shlomo Aronson Landscape Architects
Acoustical: M.G. Acoustical Consultants
Elevators: ESL – Simcha Lustig
Established in 1953, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority emerged as part of a law that created a new institution—called Yad Vashem, meaning “a place and a name”—committed to the study and commemoration of the Holocaust. Today, a four-acre site on Mount Herzl in western Jerusalem is home to a complex of Yad Vashem memorials designed by Safdie: the Children’s Holocaust Memorial, the Memorial to the Deportees, and the Holocaust History...
- Year 2005
- Work finished in 2005
- Client Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority
- Status Completed works
- Type Museums