Um El Fahem Contemporary Art Museum
Location: Um EL Fahem, Israel
Type: Musum
Structure area: 11000 mr
Faze: Competition 4th prize

The Function of the Museum
Today, in the third millennium, amid the daily reality and worries about war and economic hardship, a museum of contemporary art will be built, and will thus form an island of tranquility, exhibiting the richness of Arab culture in Israel.
The plans for the building of the museum offer it as a symbol, radiating openness to the different and the new, so that it will form a proper stage for Arab-Israeli culture and art, that, while maintaining strong links to the past, looks confidently and optimistically into the future.
The open and rich space, the use of terraces and vegetation, the flow of the layout, the structural steel details, the plaster, the reference to the surrounding view and the relation to the hills; all are represented in the project and are a derivative of Arab buildings and creative work, taking twenty-first century building technology and capabilities into account.

The proposed project aims and acts architecturally to place education as its goal.
Education is the key to cultural and artistic growth, economic prosperity, and peace.
Therefore, and in contrast with the norm for musea the world over, we chose to emphasize education as the central wing of the museum.
The entrance from the parking lot is to the educational building which incorporates an element of a modern “mashrabyia”, vegetation, and architectural elements that accentuate the view of Umm el-Fahem and Wadi Ara.
As part of the concept of the museum as an educator, the project was planned as an open space, stimulating curiosity, and inviting exploration of all its wings. The museum opens up to the town and it is possible to get the feel of it also on the path from the square to the wadi.
The walk around the museum, and the educational and cultural activities that will take place in the square, will be an invitation to the public to enter and to the experience the joy of the arts from up close.

The Site
The strongest mold of the museum site is that of the dramatic topography.
This topography opens an architectural opportunity for us to give a new interpretation to the interaction of buildings and agriculture on hill sides that is so characteristic of Arab villages in Israel.
The terraces are open to a beautiful outer space, which enriches the architecture of the inner space. Separating the building from the ground and putting it on columns re-enforces the impact of the educational building that towers high and forms a metaphor of a vision that flows from reality high into the sky.

Educational Wing
In every museum which is an architectural precedent, it is possible to observe its symbolic presentation. The glass pyramid at the Louvre, the Pompidou museum, the Guggenheim museum in New York, Bilbao, and others, all became icons by their special architectural features.
The educational wing in the Umm el-Fahem museum will be the symbol of the museum itself. The tree that grows into the inside of the building is like the tree on the Sheikh’s grave, forms a sign of hope for a brighter future, and is the basis of the design of the educational wing. The building looks out on the Wadi Ara road and hovers above the main entrance square, like steel foliage amongst the natural surroundings. Their structural forms and the envelope are the modern, mathematical fractal “Mashrabyia” homage to the fine craftsmanship of Islamic ornaments. The trees that grow into the building mix with the steel “Mashrabyia” and together form a spectacular display of light and greenery. The inner space is airy and relaxing and induces study space and inspiration for creation. The student’s works will be exhibited in the public spaces as part of the general design of the building.



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