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USA: In Los Angeles, a New (and another) Holocaust Museum Opens
The Jewish journal.com reports that a new Holocaust museum will open in Los Angeles next week. While many people assume that the Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance serves as LA's memorial center for Shoah victims and educational center for Shoah victims, that is not really proved to be the case. The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust which traces its origins to 1961, really fills that role. It now finally has a permanent and notable home, designed by Hagy Belzberg and Belzberg Architects, a small (12) firm of unconventional designers committed to green design. Belzberg and the musuem already won the Design Concept Award from the 38th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards (2008). Belzberg is also the architect of the Southern California Center for Jewish Life now in the planning and fund raising stage in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Holocaust museums: L.A. and the rest of the world
by Jonah Lowenfeld
Next weekend, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust publicly opens the plate-glass doors of its brand-new home at the northwest corner of Pan Pacific Park for the first time. Observant visitors might be drawn to the building’s grass-covered roof, or the retro-futuristic shape of the windows, or the repeated use of triangles in a design that seems to nod to the six three-sided black pillars of the Los Angeles Holocaust Monument that sit just outside the museum.
Indeed, L.A.-based architect Hagy Belzberg’s design for the new museum does not look like many other buildings in Los Angeles. Belzberg’s design performs an admirable artistic and political feat: It has nestled a small museum inside a popular and much-utilized public park without raising many hackles among neighborhood residents. And the result is a handsome new home for the collections, with an unbeatable address.
Belzberg’s building doesn’t look much like other Holocaust museums, either. Over the past 20 years, cities around the world have erected structures that attempt to preserve and disseminate Holocaust memory through designs by some of the world’s most prominent architects. Each of these Holocaust museums and memorials bears the unique imprint of its architect, while responding to all the usual architectural challenges — relating to the site, budget and local politics, among others. And Belzberg’s museum is no exception. To best understand the new museum, though, it helps to be familiar with a few of its most influential predecessors.