FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Alan Maskin, Owner/Principal at Olson Kundig, has won first prize in the Jewish Museum Berlin Foundation’s competition for a new Kindermuseum. The two-stage, international design competition was announced on January 18, 2016, and first, second, and third prizes were selected from the entries for this second phase combining architectural and exhibit design. Models from the entries were displayed at the Altbau at the Jewish Museum Berlin until Thursday, July 28, 2016.
The story of Noah’s Ark was the competition concept set forth by the Jewish Museum Berlin. The flood narrative is deeply rooted in Abrahamic cultures. “The design by Olson Kundig has the potential to unpack the biblical story in all its relevance, as well as building connections with the present day―rescuing people and animals, the relationship between nature and civilization, and the chance to make new beginnings,” says Peter Schäfer, Director of the Jewish Museum. Olson Kundig’s design includes interactive installations that appeal to the imagination, while scientific elements develop the flood narrative’s thematic diversity.
The competition site is part of an artistic and creative center that is located on the Jewish Museum Berlin campus. The space assigned to the Kindermuseum is in the Eric F. Ross Building, a concrete and glass structure built in the 1960s that is a former wholesale flower market hall. Named after Eric F. Ross, one of the Jewish Museum’s greatest supporters, it has housed the W. Michael Blumenthal Academy since 2012―designed by Daniel Libeskind.
The jury that awarded first prize to Olson Kundig and recommended its implementation described their decision: “The scenography is extremely attractive and professional in terms of museum pedagogy. Its use of the Noah’s Ark motif playfully picks up on topical and relevant themes such as diversity, migration, creation, second chances, and new beginnings. The visitor is Noah, and can experience the multiple facets of these topics―on their own or in interaction and role-play.”
This marks Alan Maskin’s second win in an international design competition this year―his first was for “Welcome To The Fifth Façade” in Blank Space’s Fairy Tales competition. Alan reacted to the announcement of Olson Kundig being selected as the first prize winner: “We are thrilled to have been awarded first place in this competition. The Noah’s Ark story, and the hundreds of flood narratives that precede the Old Testament story were a source of inspiration to our team. Our design approach was to create a modern retelling of the ancient story―an experience that provides a sense of hope and possibility to the people who will visit it.”