Moshe Safdie to design Human Rights Center in Philadelphia
Noted architect Moshe Safdie and Associates based in Somerville, Massachusetts has been commissioned by The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation (PHRF) to design a Center for Human Rights Education on the site of North America’s first Holocaust Monument - The Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs. To be located on a triangular parcel of land at the head of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where many of the city’s civic and cultural buildings are situated, the design calls for a hexagonal building that is at once transparent and reflective. “During the day there is a sense of immateriality. At night, the lights within reflect, mingling with the lights of the city", said Safdie.
There will be two levels. A wholly transparent glass structure at street level will serve as a contemplative space. Below it will be a presentation theatre surrounded by galleries. The theatre will offer a powerful experiential environment in which visitors will learn the uniquely tragic history of the Holocaust and other genocides. Audio video technologies will be incorporated to educate people regarding the mistakes of the past and the opportunities for the future, so that generations to come can combat discrimination and respect human rights.
The building will sit behind Nathan Rappaport’s acclaimed sculpture The Monument to the Six Million Jewish Martyrs, a replica of which is located at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem where Safdie designed the new museum complex.
Commenting on the project Marc Felgoise, Vice President of PHRF said “Together, with the support of the City and Safdie’s inspirational design, I am certain that we will create much more than a place for Holocaust remembrance, but rather a place that is also dedicated to dialogue, growth and education – ultimately a beacon of light and understanding in an often hostile world.”