Natural History Museum

Jerusalem, Israel

Program: Natural History Museum
Client: Jerusalem Municipality
Area: 20,960 sqm
Status: competition 2012

Scientific, Environmental and cultural layering

The founding of a nature museum next to the science museum in Jerusalem, close to the Knesset building in the museum area and to Givat Ram campus, is a significant cultural declaration in the development of the community and cultural notion of the state of Israel.  The building, destined to join the existing science museum, will offer a unique experience and a gate to the future. Occurring in the place that symbolizes the past of our nation most of all creating a special and singular designing opportunity.

The construction that had been suggested for the competition is trying to emphasize the cultural and historical layering of the city of Jerusalem. Furthermore, it is trying to offer a unique glance at the future: as well as being a point of meeting for the younger generation that would be educated in the love for the place, the love for nature and environment, and in willingly accepting sustainable life in harmony with nature on its rich layering, and particularly the Israeli environment.

The project, built from a cluster of objects along the inner central street, offers human-scale architecture. This taking shape with the traditional Jerusalem building style of a respected anti-monumental place. In addition, this place is accessible for all layers of the population, especially for the young generation. The building tries to make the amazing natural treasures of earth accessible for visitors, to endow love and tolerance to the wonder of creation and to suggest sustainable life habits, for the survival of men on earth.

RupinPromenade combined with the building’s roves

The suggested construction is rooted in the ground in a way that enables a continuous green promenade, attached to the street level at Rupin Street, and enables a panoramic view on Jerusalem as well as an extra display space for the connection between the community and the educational messages that the museum is willing to deliver.

The inner street as an enrichment and orientation space

Planned in the center of the project, is the inner street that organizes the traffic along with the display and learning spaces and makes the orientation in the rich variety of displays and displayed objects easier and more comfortable. The street will naturally connect the different wings of the museum and will also be an informal external space for rest, friendly meetings, and more external displays in high flexibility and direct access.

Nature, science, and technology, between local and global

The construction’s design combines local scenery and technological novelty. The stone terraces, the plants emerging between them, are a leading theme in the design of the inner street facades. The outer walls are another abstract expression for the local stone. While the scenery design expresses the agricultural terraces and the earth between them. The design language of the Planetarium’s cover and the light roves is derived from natural and scientific elements. The design of the project represents the variety in nature and technological novelty while leaving room for the local space and tradition. The Nature Museum of Jerusalem is a window to the Israeli society, and its relation to the natural environment, to the ecological crisis, and to the special connection between the Israelis and the environment they live in.  The museum is a national and educational declaration to our commitment as a nation and society to keeping the environmental moral values and the love for god’s creation.

Sustainable Construction

The site’s ecology

Maximal use of the ground by underground construction and combining active and useful areas on the building’s roves:

  • The green promenade along Rupin Street, open to the public and uses about 60% of the museum’s top.
  • The green roves above the museum’s wings that are useful external areas for the museum’s activities.
  • Urban nature and combining nature in the construction.
  • Developing a sequence of wide green outdoor areas that are combined in the complex of green roves along Rupin promenade.

Urban Nature

  • Making the environmental experience in the building deeper by creating a green inner scenery in means of maximal openness to the outside and the integration of a green wall along the inner space that is connecting between the inside and the outside.
  • The integration of a green wall along the inner space of the street completes the presence of nature in the building.
  • The integration of water-saving vegetation on the roves of the building and its yards, and in the development and planting trees in order to create shade and pleasant microclimate for the visitors.

Pleasant conditions and welfare for the visitors

  • Maximal usage of natural light and airing in order to save resources and improve the air quality, for the comfort of those who use the building. Vertical bio-filter system to purify the air in the building and to keep it fresh is achieved by the green walls along the inner space. Cooling and purifying the air is achieved by the green spaces and the yards that are integrated in the building.
  • The use of anti-allergenic colors and materials and applying significant acoustic insulation for the wellbeing of the visitors.
  • Providing full accessibility for all the parts of the building.
  • Providing full accessibility of contents.
  • Clarity and orientation in order to provide accessibility of content are achieved by the simple traffic alignment: the inner street, the sequential gallery on the second floor, and the openness that enables recognition and orientation.
  • Letting natural light in, openness towards the sky from the upper windows, and the intensive integration of green spaces: green channels, green yards, and green walls, is preventing the museum exhaustion syndrome.