- The Palestinian Museum by Heneghan Peng in Birzeit
A museum to celebrate the history, culture and society of Palestine from 1750 through to now welcomes visitors with a sustainable, monolithic building located next to the Birzeit University campus, 7 kilometres from Ramallah and 25 km from Jerusalem, as the crow flies. The Palestinian Museumis a pilot project by the Taawon-Welfare Association, a humanitarian NGO that works to support West Bank and Gaza communities as well as the Lebanese refugee camps.
Designed by Dublin-based architects Heneghan Peng the building is the output of a careful study of the local reality, a land whose history dates back thousands of years, where every single stone has been in some way a protagonist.
The angular museum is informed by this backdrop, sharing with visitors a 3500 m2 area containing exhibition galleries, an amphitheatre and indoor and outdoor café, classrooms, offices and storage facilities. Heneghan Peng sourced materials locally, and have given the whole building a sleek, streamlined look, with an emphasis on sustainability. The building consumes about one-third less energy and water than other similar constructions and has been certified with the first LEED Silver rating in Palestine. This example of green building is also assisted by the 40,000-square-metre terraced gardens designed by Jordanian landscape architect Lara Zureikat.
In order to achieve its ambition to become a new cultural hub, museum director Mahmoud Hawari proposes a programme that explores significant stages in the history, culture and society of Palestine. The inaugural exhibition in September will be curated by Reem Fadda, art director of the 2016 Marrakech Biennial before that associate curator to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project. The museum has also rolled out an online platform with a digital archive, as well as education programmes, research projects and conferences. The building by Heneghan Peng has become the manifesto of the desire to share and communicate culture.
Project: Heneghan Peng http://www.hparc.com/
Location: Birzeit, Palestine
Images: © The Palestinian Museum - Bassam Al Mohor
Find out more: http://www.palmuseum.org/language/english