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About the structure

Ram Karmi

 

Nothing in human history can be equated with the acts of the Nazis during the dark years of the Second World War, and no normative tools, such as language, can be expected to describe them.  If all the crimes of the world were to be weighed against those perpetrated during the Holocaust, the latter would still tip the scales.

 

The desire of an Israeli-born architect to come to grips with the Holocaust in order to create a truth based on uncompromising honesty is shrouded in a feeling of helplessness. Architecture, poised against the enormity of the tragedy, embodies once more the painful, irreconcilable contradiction between the testimony – essentially documentary and factual – and architectural language, which aspires for a mythical, universal expression using the means provided by human civilization.  Only the understanding that architecture has been recruited in the service of keeping memory alive softens the contradiction between the expressiveness of art – and the Holocaust.

 

The truth hinges on the horrible facts, but there are many ways of perceiving them.  It was this variety of perceptions that I had to contend with. To make sure that both the facts and the architecture represent the factual truth via the perceptual one as seen in and by the space of the structure.  I designed the structure in a way that enables progression along both a linear path and a circular one at the same time, thus creating a synthesis between form and content, combining actual facts and information and a symbolic architectural response.

 

The historical memory of Yad Layeled has left a mark on Israeli identity.  The greatest challenge of post-Holocaust generations is to preserve and rebuild our Jewish identity.  This idea is expressed by the symbolic descent to the bottom of the spiral structure – a descent from light to darkness.  At the end of this progression is the Eternal Flame, but from there, from this pit of darkness, the quest for light will begin anew – back to the aqueduct alongside the museum walls, and the fields, and the butterflies and the sun.

 

Ram Karmi, Architect

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