Buildings Begin to Breathe


Buildings begin to breathe with a new architectural design in Jerusalem. Many believe that life is a mirror image of movement. However today, that theory is questioned by looking at life through an emanation of that which is innately beautiful. Evidence for this notion comes from Schwartz Besnosoff + SO Architecture, and their winning design for the museum of nature and science.

Their proposal harnesses the desire to create a sustainable building of life – one that communicates with the environment as an open structure and unfurls as a dynamic and multifunctional being. Its purpose is to break from the physical and symbolic density of Jerusalem, by taking a different approach to what physicality and metaphorical abilities entail. Instead, it will offer an open urban space that seeks to interlink both community and institution, for example, local residents and the government, in order to filter out segregation.


“But can a building really tackle social and economic tensions?” This one can. With its technique and style, the interior magnetizes to the exterior like positive to negative, but in this case the outcome provided is an accumulation of positive energy. It will consist of a series of small buildings in the center of a land plot, and will be built brick upon brick, in order to represent interrelations between humans and the environment, and also evolutionary creation. No other building replicates this unique design as buildings begin to breathe and become a source of nature.

Its style will imitate Swiss cheese but with green holes (symbolic of nature), which will all vary in size and location – this external form as a central geometric and symbolic concept demonstrates connectedness and unification. The inner space will be interactive and flexible, made of three sections of half stories, with maximum accessibility to both the nature and science museum. The organization of the rooms, such as offices and study areas, will be determined by lighting conditions. For example, the functions that require more light, like the planetarium, will appear on the upper levels.

There will be a linear path around the building made by ramps, and a lift that takes visitors to the top so they can work their way down. This will all be part of the journey and experience the building has to offer, as people are taken into different zones and environments. This type of pathway also caters to the disabled, as there are few sets of stairs in the building, which again acts as a way to promote equality amongst men in that everyone has a right to enjoy the same experience.


Every garden will have its own theme which will represent the landscapes of Israel, and the roof will be divided into different areas to portray an experimental and physical catalogue of scenery. In summer, natural ventilation will be possible, with thermal comfort as moisture is added by means of water channels and pools passing to and through the building. In winter, thermal mass will be used to heat the building. The watercourse does also provide a source of natural light through the water.

All these aspects help the creation of a sustainable “mecca,” and give life to the bricks of architecture. It shows how the inanimate can be conjoined with the living as buildings begin to breathe, and the benefits of this type of structuring that utilizes nature and design in order to achieve a sense of unification and renewability (innate beauty), as well as creating an aesthetically pleasing finish.

Opinion by Melissa McDonald


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