Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem
by Chyutin Architects


Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

Israeli firm Chyutin Architects have won a competition to build this museum that will bridge over a sunken garden in Jerusalem.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The Museum of Tolerance will sit on the border between the built-up city and Independence Park.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The museum, which houses a theatre, hall, restaurant and exhibition spaces, is clad in stone with a curtain wall of glazing facing onto the park.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The sunken garden will be accessed by sloping grass terraces and house the remains of a Roman viaduct.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

Here's more from the architects:

The Museum of Tolerance is located at the heart of modern Jerusalem, in its rejuvenated city center, on the borderline between the spacious Independence Park, and the urban built environment. The location is a meeting site of three main streets which differ in character and function. Hillel street: a bustling commercial zone; Moshe Ben Israel street: a road crossing the park; and Moshe Salomon street- Nachalat Shiva’s pedestrian mall, a tourist hub, full of restaurants and shops.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The buildings surrounding the museum site have diverse architectural characteristics, representing the history of Jerusalem architecture from the 19th century up today. We wanted the MOTJ building to be integrated into the landscape without overshadowing the preexisting urban setting on the one hand, while asserting its own unique character on the other, an iconic structure that reflects transparency and openness and generates visual interest at close and distant views. The MOTJ is to act as a bridge between the different architectural styles present in its location on one hand, while stylistically using contemporary architectural language and exploring advanced technology and materiality. We wanted the MOTJ building to stand in the warm embrace of the urban fabric and the park around it, shinning as a jewel set to the skyline of Jerusalem.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The MOTJ building is planed to host a variety of different activities: exhibition spaces, an education center, a theater, a multipurpose hall, offices, a restaurant, a gift shop, etc. The activities are diverse in the types of visitor communities they serve, in their operating hours, in their environmental requirements and in their interaction with the urban context. The developed building concept answers the requirements of each specific activity, encouraging undisturbed access for the various communities to their appropriate destinations.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

We designed an elongated structure which traces the southern and eastern borderline of the site. The structure orchestrates the three surrounding streets, into a coherent urban space-a new public square for the rejuvenated city center of Jerusalem. The design of the public square incorporates several different elements: a sunken archeological garden, enclosing the remains of the roman aqueduct discovered at the site’s center, a terraced amphitheater, a grove and various public paved areas, for the various activities of visitors.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The building is divided into two horizontal wings: a three floors floating upper wing which hosts the theater and social meeting spaces, and a two floors lower sunken wing which hosts the children and the adult museums exhibition spaces- the so-called “dark box.”. The entrance floor is located at the level of the public square hosts a restaurant and gift shop The entrance floor is leading up to the floating wing or down to the sunken one. A four-leveled lobby connects the floating wing and the sunken one. Part of the floating wing is suspended over ground level, creating a gap, a doorway, from the built city to the park. Pedestrians who are relaxing in the public square or walking towards the park may be enticed to enter the MOTJ building and experience it.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects


The archeological garden serves as an outdoor space for the sunken wing, contributing to the activities of the exhibition spaces. The garden is connected to the street level by a terraced slope which can be used as a seating area for outdoor performances. It has 1200 seats capacity.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The architectural language of the MOTJ building sets it apart from its backdrop as a visual icon, while still maintaining continuity in terms of building height and materials with the urban fabric around it. The location of the building on the borderline between the city and the park dictates the design of the building facades. In accordance with municipal regulations, the building facades towards the city are stone-clad, and they exist in dialogue with the 19th and 20th century stone houses beside it.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

Stone clad

Towards the park, the structure has glass facades, which relate to the glass park façade of the future courthouse. The stone structure floats over the gap and the glass walls of the building’s entrance. This allows for visual continuity between the city and the park, preventing the building from becoming an impenetrable barrier. The design of the facades, the roof and underbelly as a geometrical envelop that connects folded stone-clad planes may be understood as echoing the geographical form of Jerusalem as a city surrounded by mountains.

Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem Chyutin Architects

The differences in design between the city and park facades diversify and enrich the structure’s visual appearance. Walking around the building may create an element of surprise.

See also:


Art Institute of Chicago
by Piano
Design Museum Holon
by Ron Arad Architects
architecture stories

Posted on Tuesday October 5th 2010 at 3:41 pm by Joe Mills. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Kinda nice mix between Zaha's latest Stirling Prize Winner MAXXI Museum and legendary Libeskind's Holocaust museum in Berlin. it's cool, sophisticated and modern. But something is missing to me…
    Maybe Zaha's passionate attitude and Libeskind intellectualism?

    • Reinhard

      Zaha and Libeskind are neiter passionate nor intellectual. what they do is pop-trendy architecture without regarding the context. Their building all look the same .. in Dubai, Europe, China.. architecture is supposed to be more than a freaky cubage

  • Lloyd

    I believe the Museum of Tolerance is actually to be built over an ancient Muslim cemetery, which has been strongly protested in Israel and Palestine.

    • What the hell is has to do with architecture?
      Don't turn the architectural forum into political mess, please.
      I can see it from the marks. What a shame…
      Plus your info is not quite correct: it has NOT being "strongly protested".
      Don't mislead us with your politics. Let's talk architecture.

      • Politics govern all aspects of our lives, whether we like it or not. Cemetery or no cemetery, protests or no protests, an Israeli museum of tolerance sounds like a big joke to me!

      • Johanna

        Architecture does not exist in a world-proofed bubble. The building is beautiful, although Lloyd's commentary clearly opens up for a second reading of it, thus being amongst the more interesting in this forum.

        Please return to your cellar.

      • sarah

        Sorry but once a building is called Museum if Tolerance in such a sensitive location – it becomes political whether you like it or not. Most public architectural pieces carry a social and political aspect and sensitivity to some degree or other. If not, it is just bad architecture by ignorant architects that only look at form without context.

      • angel_of_beats

        What the hell is has to do with architecture?

        Architecture has to do with everything

        • aleks

          What have happened to Frank's Gehry Museum of Tolerance which meant to be built uppon the Muslim cementary?

  • betuwill

    putting that staircase there the way it is with those openings is like shooting your own kneecap! stop posting bad architecture please!

    • bob

      To kneecap guy:

      Disagree. The staircase works as a solitary object, it should be all right to place it in the organic opening even though their forms are different.

      How about a museum of tolerance for architecture?

  • betuwill

    @ALBERT…if you see any similarity between this building and the MAXXI in Rom i think it is legitimate to say that you have no eye for what manifests itself in the end as a coherent project, fantastic space, narrative of a building, design, life, apples and pears….i still cant get over these staircases, and im not talking about their structural essence here,…Albert look at the satircases in maxxi please,…you will see.

  • Andy

    Fascinating but hardly surprising that in the official blurb and in all online posts about this so called 'Museum of Tolerance' there is no mention of Arabs, Muslims or Palestinians – all of whom have been dispossessed of their ancient households – even their ancestors are not safe from israels colonisation as it was WIDELY reported the site for this "Tolerance" resulted in the excavation & destruction of a centuries old Muslim graveyard.

    Quite disgusted, regardless of how much one may relish the design, that this has been showcased and applauded. Would we be so courteous to for a Museum of Tolerance built on the site of a demolished graveyard for Holocaust victims?

    I seriously doubt it.

    • Well said Andy. No matter how this project is ‘dressed up’ it is clear to see that it is anything but a “Museum of Tolerance”.

  • ehud rostoker

    There is a very good expose about the problems with the site that one can read on the English site of Haaretz. This is a building that should not be built.

  • Arild

    Museum of Zero Tolerance. Is this like giving Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize? I think they have a few issues to sort out before the construction work can start.

  • ddarch

    It’s sad to see that Israelis need to go to a museum to learn about tolerance.

    how good would it be they would learn it at school…

    • Brett

      And what of the Palestian children who are taught that Jews are descendants of pigs and apes. More tolerance is needed on both sides.

  • logorithm

    With skinny structures but large spans and cantilevers, I doubt this building is buildable to look like the renderings. It has serious structural problems! Let's hear from the engineers!

  • Seth

    I think its a pretty nice project… subtle and not overly robust…i agree about the staircase just bad

  • Meliha Duran

    I wonder what kind of a tolerance it is, even being irritated by the journalists…

  • Grapes

    Very beautiful, and great renders to suit!

  • kle

    That staircase looks way too magical to stand with those dimensions…
    What's the structural solution ? I'm really curious.

  • the german pavilion + canadian pavilion

  • astro

    Sorry Albert, but where do you see any Libeskind here? There's not a single floor plan to justify your assumption. Libeskind's main architectural Theory for the Berlin's Jewish Museum was to break down the hierarchy of Axis and play with the Oblique of the Ground floor.
    Same thing for Zaha who's more interested in flow and fluiditiy of spaces.

    I only see here a nice folding exercise on the roof for this building…maybe it looks more similar to UN-Studio or Terroir….?

  • bob

    Nice theme for a museum, but not much local content to diplay, I'm afraid..

  • john

    what is a museum of tolerance? in a place like israel it seems to a concept so loaded with significance that it seems to be almost unbelievable that this article does not make any reference to what goes into this building (apart from the side ubiquitous side programs of gift shop etc).

  • hcch

    does everybody else see the irony?

    • Brett

      There is no irony. The planners of this projected are precisely pushing for it because they think that it is much needed. Whether or not you disagree with their estimation of the potential value of the project is another story.

  • SNP

    Lovely composed images and dynamic spaces. I fear the real thing will be substantially heavier and clunky once the engineer gets their hands on it…still who cares about the reality – for now!!

  • antonius

    Where is this resemblance with the Jewish museum Albert?? You mean because Liebeskind is Jewish or what? To me it's just another drawing because we can draw it. Not poetic or special and innovative. Not even great renderings. No plans?

  • nuha

    @hcch…i can see it clearly it makes me wanna laugh

    @ Albert…no one is trying to mislead you these are facts, and when u throw at my face a project with the name of (museum of tolerance) in Israel am gonna talk politics…and yes the site holds an 18th century Muslim cemetery and they destroyed it gradually, it is being protested, and if its not don’t you think its disgusting?

  • bubble

    This museum seems just too plain, boring, and awkward like a student's project where you don't really know what is wrong but something is. Then, the museum of tolerance, what kind of exhibits would it have? Instead of building a huge chunk of gray boring and dead mass, better to grow a garden to celebrate life.

  • Funny, how every project made in Israel or by an Israeli create so much hate reaction. Some time ago was one Israeli designed a ladder and all of the reader’s immediately referred to the wall divided between Israel and the west bank.
    I bet none of you ever even visited Israel or even aware that Israel had 7 wars against them by their fellow neighbors.
    Saying that, (and if your claim is correct) I do agree that having this building in this location defies it own propose. As a building itself I think it is wonderful except for the staircase which is common selling cliché but as a concept it has a big fail to my view.

    Just so you know, the Israelis also built many roads and building on ancient Jewish cemeteries… funnily enough you never mentioned that but here you go, I gave you another reason to hate them.

    • It is very sad that moderators allow this thread of hatred to happen.
      We can argue about stairs of Zaha or plans of Libeskind (how close or not close they are to the presented project and as I said formalistically it reminds it, but something is MISSING) but I refuse to participate in the discussion where moderators of ARCHITECTURAL forum allow comments like:

      "It's sad to see that Israelis need to go to a museum to learn about tolerance.
      how good would it be they would learn it at school… "


      "when u throw at my face a project with the name of (museum of tolerance) in Israel am gonna talk politics…and yes the site holds an 18th century Muslim cemetery and they destroyed it gradually, it is being protested, and if its not don't you think its disgusting? "

      Or some idiotic remarks about Obama and even slight aroma of antisemitism. Looks like editors have some policy issue here.

      I have copied this thread and will consider to publish an article about it. Let architectural community to decide about "architectural nature" of this discussion.
      I am 100% sure that this comment of mine will not be ever published. Dezeen would rather publish a political remark about "an Israeli museum of tolerance sounds like a big joke to me! " but not a professional opinion of its regular user.
      Never thought that "architectural" comments will make me sick!

  • Wow, they published my reply!
    Now that would be real good move for Dezeen to apologize in front of the architectural community and remove antisemitic remarks.

    Otherwise this board looks like Ahmadinedjad speech.
    You don't think so:

    Here it goes
    "Would we be so courteous to for a Museum of Tolerance built on the site of a demolished graveyard for Holocaust victims?"
    it has plus 2 (readers love it… right?)


    • Gili

      Albert, obviously you have no idea what architecture is…
      architecture is not about pretty buildings and nice staircases, but about the forces that shape it – architecture is power and therefore has everything to do with politics. Throughout history you cannot seperate a building from the context in which it was created. Doing so would be completely missing the point. You can close your eyes and only want to talk about cool renderings and funky materials, but you would betray your profession as someone who is responsible for the design of the public realm.

      • Bobby

        this is the thoughtful, intelligent and pragmatic responce that determines where you stand as a designer and human being.

  • ddarch

    Albert, forget about it and concentrate on architecture… can you?

  • This is my post from yesterday – 16 hrs ago!

    "What the hell is has to do with architecture?
    Don't turn the architectural forum into political mess, please.
    I can see it from the marks. What a shame…
    Plus your info is not quite correct: it has NOT being "strongly protested".
    Don't mislead us with your politics. Let's talk architecture."

    Minus 15. Would be Minus 115 if I wouldn't start posting :)

    Few conclusions:
    A. Obviously people don't want to be concentrated on architecture, but prefer to promote nationalistic opinions
    B. Obviously Dezeen has happily presented a platform for such racist posts conveniently forgetting that its not a political extremism site but cultural place (supposedly)
    C. Obviously my nationality (along with color of my skin, native language, shape of my eyes and name of my grandfather) has nothing to do with architecture. You can read my opinions (even on Ground Zero issue) and see that to me nationality or religion have no meaning. It has nothing to do with being right or wrong. And here I am right.
    You are all wrong.
    Shame on you, architects! Architects, people that suppose to be an intellectual conscience, people who suppose to design beautiful shrines… Shame on you… I am very sad. Not for myself. But for you.

    Funny but you all are hiding. None of you publishes under its name or even provides a link. Funny and sad.

  • Zed

    Sorry, but there was no competition.
    The sad truth is that, as in any other developing country the comission was supposed to go to a big shot starchitect, ie F. Gehry, and after he dumped the project (fed up waiting for desicions to be made due to the politics involved) the museum addressed Chayutin directly.
    Public buildings, arguably the more controversial ones first, should be put on an open competition, so the public's view and rising young minds can present their opinions openly. Everyone is a winner from this procedure.
    But not so in this case, Chayutin ran to the press with partial truths for the sake of their own publication.
    And if this is not bad practice I don't know what architecture is about.

    • archilover

      zed just to correct, there was a competition of 4 architecture firms. Gehry's scheme was way over budget and the organization and him could not come to an agreement on scaling it back to make it fit. Chyutin's scheme won out of those 4 firms.
      as for all the other comments, the site in question was a City parking lot (for at least 40 years) before it was appropriated to be the location for the museum. The Mamilla cemetery is actually adjacent to the site.

  • the stairs do not work

  • astro

    Maybe this museum is about the immense TOLERANCE that Israelis have for the constant rubbish thrown at them by the Politically Correct community of Architects?
    Seriously if you really cared about Palestinians and Arabs you would criticise as well their awfull politicians, their constant attack on civil rigthts and inhumane treatment of women!!!

  • sgz

    "… and here, we have the typical sleepy Mexican."

  • joejohn

    @Albert , I understand your frustration, but you should keep in mind that architecture is a very powerful medium. It would be ignorant to side step political issues that are so obviously interwoven with a work named "museum of tolerance" and built in an area where pride, and extremism from both sides prevents millions of people from living a normal life.
    Otherwise… i think this thing has too many windows for a museum (you'd think controlling light would be a major factor).
    looks like a robotic snail.

  • niloufar

    building a "museum of tolerance" on territory that is subject to conflict is quite cynical. usually a museum is a building with the aim to preserve evidence of past and present for the future. it displays objects or artifacts and informs us about culture and society. in this context it would have been more honest and appropriate to build a "museum of conflict".

    But instead we're confronted with a museum that is conceptualized to represent an idealized future. this is highly manipulative – to me it sounds like some kind of political PR (also commonly called "propaganda"). who defines this ideal future? who presents it and what is the agenda? it can't be objective by definition. it's built on conflicted territory!

    For me the discussion of whether it's built on a Muslim graveyard or a Jewish one is sidetracking from the core of the problem. plunging right into the conflict in this discussion seems wrong. I personally prefer not to discuss my own political opinion here.

    Instead we need to see this project as what it is and discuss it as architects that are aware of the political and cultural dimension of architecture. Starting to argue on the same level as the powers is leading to nowhere as we can see in the news every day.

  • Dezeen manipulates posts, edits them to present discussion in a certain light.
    Waste of time trying to discuss architecture here…
    It's like to discuss politics with Ahmadinedjad (America is bad, Holocaust never happened). Looks like Dezeen supports such views.
    I am out of here.
    You can publish my post, manipulate it or cut it. I really don't care.

  • Seb

    What's supposed to be displayed inside the museum? It looks like all those photoshop people are wandering around looking for something to see or do. (Maybe they have come to admire the architecture and the fragile looking staircase?)

    There is something very calm and restrained about the design. I question the merits of having museum of tollereance in Israel given thier land grabbing history.

  • lior

    hi albert.
    you sounds very angry and i agree with you on some level, but unfortunately architecture have a direct link to politics. the whole modernism and brutalism movement is a direct results from the political situation after the world wars. the architects are people affected by day today situation and so the design. I do agree that it is fashionable bashing Israel on every opportunity and dezeen is happily publish these irrelevant hate comments but i would not use the word anti Semitism. because i just don't think this is the case….

  • What a visually stunning building! It really gives the onlooker a feeling of floating. The design is a great example of what can be done with glass curtain walls. It has a very modern feel and give one the feeling of openness.

  • fish fingers

    change the name to the Museum of Irony.