The National Campus for Archeology was built to house the most valued collection of archeological treasures as well as the main offices of the Antiquities Authority, and to create a living exhibition of national archeological discovery for the general public from around the country and abroad. See a video explaining the participatory, educational, behind-the-scenes philosophy of the campus design concept.
The campus, its layout and building designed by Moshe Safdie Architects, includes 1600 sqm of green roof garden, an entrance plaza, and various courtyards and sunken gardens. The roof is accessible to visitors of the campus as well as serving as a public space for the surrounding museum district. It offers 360 degree views of the surrounding hills and cultural landmarks, as well as down into the internal courtyard of the campus where large mosaics will undergo restoration. Construction of the roof is not fully complete, and it will, in the future, house archeological fragments for visitors to explore (creating a thematic connection with the building interior), as well as seating elements.
The roof is designed to provide a quiet and naturalistic retreat for visitors while at the same time entering a dialogue with the local scenery. The plantings are a horticultural interpretation of the local natural and cultural Mediterranean landscape. The trees used are traditional species of the agricultural landscape: cypress, olive, figs, and pomegranates. Grasses and ornamental shrubs are interspersed with flowering perennials and the occasional trees. The roof thus presents the textures, colors, and architecture of the native plant communities while using species which are horticulturally appropriate for the engineered environment of an intensive urban green roof and the need for year-round interest for visitors.
The central path, paved with local stone, winds informally through the plantings and leads the visitor to points of interest, shaded corners, and overlooks to the surrounding landscape. The garden, seen and experienced from different vantage points, presents a tapestry of shifting visual illusions. Sometimes, it is seen as a distinct garden, floating above the surrounding landscape of museums and cultural heritage sites, and the visitor feels he walks through a small island, or intimate urban retreat. At other moments, it makes use of the ‘borrowed landscape’ of the far-off hills and seems to meld seamlessly into them. The visitor is visually transported away from city, and for a moment feels part of a great, sweeping landscape of waving grasses and wooded hilltops.
Entrant office name: Shlomo Aronson Architects
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Architect
Other design firms involved: Moshe Safdie Architects (campus and building design), Tova Levinov (Irrigation design)
Project location: Jerusalem, Israel
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2017-ongoing