Jewish Museum – Discussion 16

“Expressive vs. Neutral, Complex vs. Simple, Unexpected vs. Habitual…. “

These thoughts have been the major debates in the architectural community for years. Even now the air is fresh around these thoughts. Well, these were the thoughts that heated up our discussion forum this Tuesday.

Forum started with a video presentation on the famous Jewish museum in Berlin, Germany. Museum stands to exhibit the struggles Jewish people had to go through in Germany. The 3 lakh visitors in the first 3 years, before any of the exhibits were even moved in shows how the building itself becomes the exhibit.

The architect, Daniel Libeskind, in his own words describes the building as “between the lines“. The strong expressive lines of organization and relationship. Every inch of the building has something to speak out. The hardships the Jews had to go through are clearly written on every space in the museum. The tower of holocaust, garden of exile, the voids – all create the kind of tension the Jews had to go through. Time freezes in space and you are taken back into those days of terror and tension.

The museum is connected to the old part by an underground passage with a radical, zigzag design on top named after “Blitz”. Cutting through the form of the museum is a void, a straight line whose impenetrability forms the central core around which the exhibits are organized. In order to cross from one space of the museum to another, the visitor has to  traverse sixty bridges, which open into the void spaces, the “embodiments of absence”.

The presentation kept everyone speechless. The strong expressive language of the building needed no words to describe it. Tony pointed out the various struggles and hardships the Jews had to go through and how well the building takes us through the same feeling. Long after the video ended the clinging noise of the metal plates kept ringing in our ears. It was as if the tension was injected into the veins by the building, keeping the memories alive.

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