13 / 11 / 2013The Umm el-Fahem Museum of Contemporary Art / STAV Architects
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STAV Architects shared with is their competition entry for The Umm el-Fahem Museum of Contemporary Art which was awarded third place. Planted in its surroundings, the building grows from the side of the mountain, looking towards the Wadi on its border. It refrains from overtaking the Wadi, posed on one of its banks and watches it to the opposite pine planted bank, watching the city from afar to spread into the urban topography of Wadi Ara, Israel. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The building stands between the trees which Umm el-Fahem lives among and by while blending with nature in the tradition of the Arabic-Israeli architecture. In doing do, the design combines culture and nature into one composite entity.
The show rooms and auditorium are placed in box-like structures planted in the ground and united in a repetitive structure. The lobby, with its northern glass wall overlooking the Wadi, becomes a threshold space in which the visitor stands between interior and exterior, between nature and architecture, between present and memory. On the one hand, the visitor is exposed to the forest in the north and on the other, he faces the art spaces. The visitor is accompanied by the archive and library, both acting as memorial-presentations, describing the artifacts on show. In addition, the building also represents the cultural life in the city through projections on their walls which face the lobby. Thus, Wadi Ara area is captured in several points in time-past and future on one hand and the present on the other.
between the building and the cultural space in the city and Wadi, while the individual is in the middle and continually creates this connection by walking through the interior. The Wadi descends toward and among the showrooms and allows the visitor walking in the sculpture garden to experience the art from the outside as well. The sculpture garden lies along the Wadi and creates a cultural axis, stretching from the stadium and into Wadi Ara.
The city is conceptually present in the building. The entrance creates a frame for a direct view toward the city in the center of which stands as a focal point for the Minaret of the Omar Ibn El-Khatab Mosque. On its western side, the building opens to the Wadi and looks over the traffic route following it.
Thus, through the dialogue between the art inside and the walk along the local cultural path in the Wadi, the dialogue between moving through the interior and the faraway focal point in the city, and through the threshold situation between structure and nature, the museum takes upon itself a number of roles in creating a new reality. This reality unites the fragments of the Palestinian-Israeli identity: earth, nature, city, memory and culture united in art.