Plans Unveiled for Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem

Plans Unveiled for Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem Courtesy the Museum of Tolerance

By Natalie Shutler
Published: September 22, 2010

Courtesy the Museum of Tolerance
Another rendering of the future museum

JERUSALEM— Given its locale, it is perhaps fitting that Jerusalem's planned Museum of Tolerance has faced a seemingly endless stream of setbacks, quarrels, and defeats, but it now appears that the institution may be back on the path to being realized. Plans drawn up by Israeli Chyutin Architects have been revealed, bringing the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the original Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles closer to their goal of creating a site in the biblical city dedicated to human rights, social responsibility, and war-crime remembrance.

These new plans will cost $100 million to execute, according to the Los Angeles Times — far less than the $250 million called for by an earlier Frank Gehry proposal, which became impossible to fund in the wake of the global economic crisis. But the center has had to overcome impediments more unique than recent fiscal setbacks. Its founders faced allegations that the institution would stand atop a former Muslim cemetery — a problematic charge for a tolerance museum that outraged Arab leaders made in the Israeli Supreme Court in 2008.

Already, 50 percent of the construction cost has been raised, and Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Weisenthal Center in L.A., is confident that the remaining funding can be gathered after ground is broken. The six-story structure will feature an exhibition space, theater, and educational center.

While Gehry’s design called for the use of steel, blue and silver titanium, and golden Jerusalem stone, Chyutin Architects will construct the cultural landmark out of massive panes of glass that will look out over Independence Park. The new design is intended to create a "warmer and more inviting space."