Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum

Cultural

LOCATION: Jerusalem, Israel
COMPLETED: 2005
SIZE: 190,000 sq. ft.
OWNERS: The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority
ARCHITECT: Moshe Safdie and Associates with Tafnit Wind Ltd.
PHOTOGRAPHER: © Tim Hursley

DESIGN TEAM:Paul Zaferiou
 Glenn Heinmiller

This holocaust memorial museum’s central circulation spine is driven through the hillside site like a spike, which bursts open to a terrace looking towards Jerusalem.

The skylight running the length of the spine lights the space with daylight, so that no obtrusive hardware competes with the solemnity of the walls and the ribbon of light above.

Fixtures hidden in side galleries, aimed into the central corridor, supplement daylight invisibly to further preserve the purity of the structural expression.

To light the spine at night, extensive model-testing enabled a serendipitous discovery: whereas lighting the clear glass directly would have been ineffective, lighting the upper parts of the concrete walls with concealed uplights creates a visible veiling reflection in the glass. A common annoyance that would be avoided in other contexts produced an unusual and creative effect.

In the circular Hall of Names, a truncated cone ceiling is inserted below a skylight. The drum’s exterior reflects light to the walls; inside, it has a diffusing surface to backlight photographs. In effect, the ceiling design comprises a single large-scale fixture.