2017       IAF Museum Competition  /  Hatzerim Israeli Air Force Base, Negev desert

Client: Ministry of Defense
Size: 50 acre
Program: Display spaces, auditorium, parade court, classrooms, restaurant
Computer Images: Totem 3D animation

Our design was aimed at constructing a home for the airplanes that served in the IAF over the years, as well as commemorating its heritage.

In addition to its role in preserving and displaying this heritage, the structure will also serve as aerospace museum which will gather and distribute scientific knowledge amongst the youth while presenting the public with the IAF's organizational culture, innovation and excellence. Despite the fact that most of the project is excavated into the ground (imaging bunkers and camouflage) the museum is designed with a modern and innovative language, exhibition windows facing north and south, which represents the IAF and the Air industry' achievements.

The museum's architecture becomes an integral part of the desert dunes and blends with the landscape and nature of the Negev. The main five display buildings stem from the ground, shaping the site in a structural geometry of artificial hills. The pitched roofs construct huge hangers that house the airplanes exhibits, their height and size determined by the exhibits' scale. These enormous spaces, resting on light geometrical constructions, are powerful and dramatic. The display spaces open alternatively along the linear passage connecting the buildings and the underground chronological theme, thus enriching the visitors' combined interactive experience. This experience is intensified with the richness of views of the runways, the parade court and the desert horizon in the south, the outdoor displays and the access road in the north. The museum's circulation is planned in such way that does not restrict the visitors to a linear movement but allows them to move indirectly from one attraction to another, to skip between the buildings, the displays and the many outdoor spaces.

The museum experience occurs among the excavated passages, the simple yet elegant structure of the hangers and the exhibits' technology. This duality expresses the new vs. the old, the historical museum vs. the science museum. Topographically, the museum is an extension of the site, and the vast silent spaces surrounding it, the silence being not only acoustical but visual as well. The design of the museum and the physiognomy of its spaces represent our interpretation of the IAF harmony and proportions of the surrounding landscape.