The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust –LAMOTH– is a building that features a set of bold design characteristics and fluid forms that ensue a series of spaces with a powerful sentimental narrative; essentially forming  a building that is rich both in design context and architectural concept.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

Considering that the new museum is located within a public park, Belzberg Architects designed a building that successfully integrates the surrounding open – park landscape. The Museums is submerged into the ground allowing the park’s landscape to continue over the roof of the structure.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The architects used the existing park pathways as connective elements to incorporate the pedestrian flow of the park with the new circulation routes meant for the museum visitors. The pathways were morphed onto the building and appropriated as surface patterning, which continues above the museum’s galleries, attempting to join together the park’s landscape and pedestrian paths.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

In that way the topography delineates both the building form and the façade, enhancing the interrelation between the natural and the built, the feeling of enclosure and the openness of the outside.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Belzberg Architects

The museum emerges from the landscape as a single, curving concrete wall that splits and carves into the ground to form the entry.  Due to the museum’s submersion beneath the grassy, park landscape, the entry of the building entails a gradual deterioration of this visual and auditory connection to the park while descending a long ramp.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

Upon entering, visitors experience the culmination of their transition from a playful and unrestrained, public park atmosphere within a series of isolated spaces saturated with photographic archival imagery.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

The internal spaces offer an intense atmosphere, where the they experience glimpses of the outside and the interior, an emphasis of the holocaust sufferers back in the 1930’s and 40’s and how it is to lose sight of your everyday surroundings.Visitors exit the museum by rising up to the level of the existing monument, regaining the visual and auditory connection with the park environment.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

Belzberg Architects have created an interior environment that conceptually rich while it demonstrates powerful poetics and allegories, aspiring to take the visitor to an emotional, evocative sentimental journey. The museum embraces a dark part of history; however, it successfully transforms this into an intense experiential journey for the visitors, whilst they become an active part of history.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Belzberg Architects

The first room incorporates a large, single interactive table, mimicking a conceptual “community” or dinner table. The exhibit brings a large group of patrons together around one interactive exhibit.

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The lighting of the interior galleries dim as the visitor steps down into the subsequent rooms where two separate exhibits display divide the singular crowd—diminishing the “community” provided by people nearby.  Through the third room and into the fourth, the floor continues to step down as ambient lighting becomes scarcer leading individuals to the room titled, “Concentration Camps.”

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

‘Due to the breadth of history and vast volume of historical records in hand, the museum is essentially an allegorical interpretation of the Holocaust era as it provides a first-hand ‘sensory experience’ to each visitor to bolster his/her capacity to associate feelings with the graphic content and atmosphere—inducing a personal connection more susceptible to being learned and remembered. ‘

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Benny Chan – Fotoworks

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Iwan Baan

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

site plan ©Belzberg Architects

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

©Belzberg Architects

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

cross sections ©Belzberg Architects

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

North ramp elevation ©Belzberg Architects

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust by Belzberg Architects

Wall elevation ©Belzberg Architects

 

Words: Ivi Vassilopoulou

 


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