Bold Design at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum
Project: Contemporary Jewish Museum
Location: San Francisco, California
Architects: Studio Daniel Libeskind
The Contemporary Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind has been both heavily praised and criticized since its opening in June 2008. The museum is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage that resides in downtown San Francisco with the third largest Jewish population in a US metropolitan region. In the heart of the art and cultural district, the form of the building was based on an interpretation of the Hebrew expression “L’Chaim” meaning “To Life.”
Extending from an abandoned early 20th century power substation, the classical themes of the original structure were preserved while creating the 21st century addition. The museum houses only temporary collections along with public and educational programs.
The exterior features an ornate arrangement of thousands of diamond-shaped blue steel panels. Containing no dyes or pigments, the panels retain their color without fear of chalking, fading or decay. They also contain chromatic qualities that allow their hue and intensity to be determined by natural light reflection and perspective.
The museum is criticized by some for not adequately representing Jewish heritage but is praised by most for its incredible design qualities.
photos © Bitter Bredt, Bruce Damonte and Mark Darley via Studio Daniel Libeskind
information © Studio Daniel Libeskind
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