The Davidson Center

by | 31. Jul 2012

Cultural | Feature

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.


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.


Photo: Amit Geron



Photo: Amit Geron



Photo: Amit Geron



Photo: Amit Geron



Photo: Amit Geron



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.


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

Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsEntrance Level Plan


Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsMid Level Plan


Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsRoof Square and Promenade Plan


Drawing courtesy Kimmel Eshkolot ArchitectsSections



CITY Jerusalem