Architectural designs for a trimmed-down Museum of Tolerance in the center of Jerusalem, featuring massive top-to-bottom glass walls facing the city’s Independence Park, have been unveiled by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Although the cemetery hasn't been used in at least 50 years and has long since been declared mundras -- no longer sacred -- by Muslim authorities, critics of the Center for Human Dignity have charged the Wiesenthal Center with being intolerant in its quest to build a Jerusalem version of its West. L.A. museum.
Gehry's creative solution -- his psychoanalytic victory -- was to embrace the delight of free-form design, while making sure that his buildings met the needs of his clients. His freedom in designing what appear to be purely sculptural objects that subsequently win rapturous praise must make him the envy of all architects who secretly wish they could find such willing clients.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayal met recently and placed a call to congratulate new Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. They, along with Ayal's wife, Anne, extended congratulations on the Kadima Party victory.
Since its beginning in 1977, with one phone and a very long extension cord, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center has seemingly moved from one success to the next, with its shrewd, strategic planning and winning message of tolerance. Now it faces a daunting, unfamiliar and discomforting challenge.
Disney Hall may well be Frank Gehry's crowning achievement in Los Angeles -- and for good reason. Approaching The Walt Disney Concert Hall from the corner of First Street and Grand Avenue, the stainless steel walls reach into the air like a conductor's arms. The interior is even more striking, an intimate space filled with light and color. Disney Hall has every chance of becoming more than a concert hall -- it stands to become a destination. Like the Getty, which is now visited as much -- if not more -- for the building than the art inside, Disney Hall is sure to draw visitors who care not a whit about the music. There are public gardens on the outside. Patina restaurant has relocated to Disney Hall and will also operate a lower priced cafe. Visitors will be able to dine at both without buying tickets to a performance.
Not long ago, a group of distinguished academics and government officials from Poland filed into the Santa Monica offices of world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. They came to talk about a Jewish museum.
Frank Gehry is poised to make his first grand Jewish statement.
Avoiding the press after a slew of praise, Gehry is now completing a number of projects in his Santa Monica offices, including a schematic design for the $130 million Winnick Institute in Jerusalem, a project of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to promote mutual understanding and respect among the world's communities.
"It will be the most outstanding building in the State of Israel and will draw worldwide attention," says Rabbi Marvin Hier.
The dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is referring to the new Museum of Tolerance -- to be known as the Winnick Institute -- that will rise in the heart of Jerusalem on Hillel Street, any opposition notwithstanding.
Frank Gehry, widely considered the world's most innovative contemporary architect, is designing the $130 million center, a guarantee that it will indeed attract global attention and controversy.