The Davidson Center

by | 31. Jul 2012

Cultural | Feature
davidson_1.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

 

The Davidson Center is a museum located in the Old City of Jerusalem, woven into the archaeological excavation site of an Umayyan Palace at the southwestern corner of the Temple Mount.

davidson_2.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

Only two elements emerge above the plane surface: a transparent glass structure enveloping the Hall of Arches magnifying the mass of the ancient walls and The Oculus a unique architectural element, built of steel and glass, hinting at the existence of a 21st century structure underground.

davidson_3.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

 

davidson_4.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

 

davidson_5.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

 

davidson_6.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

 

davidson_7.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

 

davidson_8.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

The inner structure, made of ultra-light material totally detached from the existing walls, highlights the time-strata of the stone. The big roof’s geometry and technology, as they meet the remains of ancient structures rooted in the ground, amplify the plastic and organic nature of the walls.

davidson_9.jpg

Photo: Amit Geron

 

Our encounter with such a project set in such a major site of Jerusalem cast a sharp light on the complexities of form versus meaning, universal versus regional, and in particular – the tension between the site’s monumentality and the interaction of the diverse cultures that left their footprint on this monumental site.

We sought an architectural language that could strike a precise dialogue with the surroundings, the skyline of the walls, and the gravity of the ancient stone remains. A language that would form a coexistence with the limestone landscape and the inimitable Jerusalem light. In a location where each epoch had eradicated the marks of its precursors, we were looking for the possibility of reconciliation. We strove towards a state where the new observes the old with love and reverence, touching it and weaving through it, generating surprises and stimulating new situations. Creating a space were these different and often adversary cultures, could coexist both in time and in place.

The Davidson Center is a place to experience in motion. We wished to provide the visitor with a well-orchestrated experience, a path of several stages: a dramatic entrance, a last glance at the world outside, and a plunge into the depth of the earth. The inner journey coincides with a loss of orientation which intensifies the experience. At journey’s end, the visitor climbs back to the surface and sees the surroundings with new eyes.

/Kimmel Eshkolot Architects
davidson_10.jpg

Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsEntrance Level Plan

davidson_11.jpg

Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsMid Level Plan

davidson_12.jpg

Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsRoof Square and Promenade Plan

davidson_13.jpg

Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsSections

 

INFORMATION

CITY Jerusalem
COUNTRY Israel
CONSTRUCTION YEAR 2001

CLIENT

CONTRACTOR

PUBLISHER