Contemporary Jewish Museum

San Francisco California USA 

Daniel Libeskind Architects

The Contemporary Jewish Museum and extension in San Francisco, designed by Daniel Libeskind opened in june 2008, the blue steel clad extension houses 63,000 square feet of space. 

Located in downtown san francisco’s yerba buena cultural district, the extension was an architectural adaptation of the 1907 jesse street power substation. the new addition adds bold lines and skewed volumes to the more traditional original building, an interplay captured here by pygmalion karatzas.

Founded in 1984 the contemporary jewish museum is a multidisciplinary space that plays host to art exhibitions, performances, educational presentations, film screenings and more, all revolving around contemporary representations of jewish life and culture.  the extension is organized around symbolic references to the hebrew language. referencing the well know salutation of l’chaim (to life), the two volumes are conceptually modelled after the hebrew letters of ‘chai’ and ‘yud’.

The distinctive blue steel skin of the building is made up of over 4,503,000 luminous panels. the dynamic, living surface of the building is achieved by coloring the panels using interference-coating. due to the absence of paint or dye, the hue will never fade. the many facets of the building reflect light differently depending on the perspective of the onlooker, giving the building the impression of an ever shifting, shimmering façade.


[text by Peter Corboy / desigboom]



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