UEF - Museum of Contemporary Art
Between interior and exterior, Between nature and architecture, Between present and memory
A building planted in its surroundings grows from the side of the mountain, looking toward the wadi on its border. It refrains from overtaikng the wadi, exists on one of its banks and watches from it to the opposite pine planted bank. Watching the city from afar and spreads into the urban topography of Wadi Ara.
The building stands between the trees which Umm el-Fahem lives among and by. The building blends with nature in the tradition of the Arabic Israeli architecture which combines culture and nature into one composite entity.
The show rooms and auditorium are placed in box-like structures planted in the ground and united in a repetitive structure. The lobby, with its northern glass wall overlooking the wadi, becomes a threshold space in which the visitor stands between interior and exterior, between nature and architecture, between present and memory. On one side the visitor is exposed to the forest in the north and on the other he faces the art spaces. The visitor is accompanied by the archive and library which act as memorials-presentations describing the artifacts on show and the cultural life in the city and the Wadi Ara area are projected on their walls facing the lobby. thus, Wadi Ara area is captured in several ponts in time-past and future on one side and the present on the other. This dual threshold situation designs the abstract and conceptual connection between the building and the cultural space in the city and wadi. While the individual is in the middle and continually creats this connection by walking through the interior. The wadi descends toward and among the showrooms and allows the visitor walikng in the sculpture garden to experience the art from the outside as well. The sculpture garden lays along the wadi and creats a cultural axis stretching form the stadium and into Wadi Ara.
The city is conceptually present in the building. The entrance creats a frame for a direct view toward the city in the center of which stands as a focal point the minaret of the Omar Ibn El-Khatab mosque. On its western side the buiding opens to the wadi and looks over the traffic route following it
Thus, through the .dialogue between the art inside and the walk along the local cultural path in the wadi, the dialogue between moving through the interior and the faraway focal point in the cityand through the threshold situation between structure and nature, the museum takes upon itself a number of roles in creating a new reality. This reality unites the fragments of the palestinian Israeli identity: earth, nature, city, memory and culture united in art.
Arch Daily: 11 March 2011 - The Umm el-Fahem Museum of Contemporary Art
AIQ # 76 February 2009