Adjacent to the bustling streets of modern-day Jerusalem, the Mount Herzl Memorial Hall is a quiet, intimate space for “personal and collective experiences of commemoration,” says Kimmel Eshkolot Architects, who designed the monument with Kalush Chechick Architects. Excavated into a mountain, the stunning building was created to honor Israel's fallen soldiers. The project is currently a contender for the 2018 RIBA International Prize for world's best building.
Kimmel Eshkolot Architects shared more details about their project below.
“Above the hall, the mountain is reconstructed of curved topographies made of Jerusalem stone. An undulating funnel-shaped formation of bricks opens the excavated hall to the sky. Its irregular vortex shape floods the space with ever-changing natural light,” says Kimmel Eshkolot Architects.
A “Wall of Names”, which comprises of engraved stone bricks, wraps around the undulating funnel. At the upper end of the roof, the stone slabs are spaced in between to allow air flow and natural ventilation. The building was designed with no mechanical systems.
The architecture team worked with the R.O.B. research team at ETH Zurich to develop the funnel's design, which uses uniform, extruded aluminum bricks that were CNCed and marked with specific joint locations to allow on-site assembly.
Following a ramp that spirals up the memorial, the Wall of Names is made of 23,000 stone bricks, each of which are engraved with the name of a fallen soldier and the soldier's death date.
The exterior topography is cladded with light-colored Jerusalem stone, which protects the building from radiation. The designers used local materials not only for budget constraints and sustainability reasons, but to also integrate the memorial hall with the surrounding city. They “intended [the structure] to be unimposing from the exterior, and to echo the texture of the adjacent mountains and cemetery.”
Find more photos + project drawings in the gallery below.
Architecture: Kimmel Eshkolot Architects (in collaboration with Kalush Chechick Architects)
Architects in charge: Etan Kimmel, Limor Amrani
Client: Ministry of Defense – Families and Commemoration Department
Structural engineering: Haim & Yehiel Steinberg Structural Engineering
Construction manager: E.D. Rahat Engineering Coordination and Management Ltd. - Eliezer Rahat, Daniel Rahat
Design phase Manager and coordinator: Eran Garber E.S.L Engineers
Contractor Firm: Green Construction Ltd.
Project manager: Nadav Rubin
Engineer: Eran Rosenberg
Light Bell optimization
R/O/B Technologies - ETH Zurich, IDF Merkava and Armored Vehicles Directorate
Lighting Design: Amir Brenner Lighting Design
3D Molds manufacturer: XENOM
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