Belzberg Architects: Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

World renowned architectural photographers Iwan Benn & Benny Chan take you on tour through the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the country’s oldest museum dedicated to the subject. Journey through the inception, creation, & completion of the museum by the award-winning architect, Hagy Belzberg, & discover the juxtaposition of old & new. The book is available for purchase at the LAMOTH gift shop, & Amazon.

The Building and its Environs

The Museum's permanent home in Pan Pacific Park features a subterranean design typifying 'form follows function.' Paramount to the Museum's design strategy is the integration of the building into the surrounding, open park landscape. Patrons begin their procession into the Museum at the drop-off adjacent to the park. Their approach is marked by sounds and sights of laughter and sport - of kids playing in the park and picnicking with their families. Upon entering, visitors experience the culmination of their transition from a playful and unrestrained, public park atmosphere to a series of isolated spaces saturated with photographic archival imagery. The lighting of the galleries dims as the visitor steps down into the subsequent rooms. By the third and fourth rooms the ambient lighting becomes scarcer; leading visitors to the room entitled "Concentration Camps." The ceiling is low, and the room is almost entirely illuminated by individual interactive video-monitors - about the size of a notebook - limiting viewing to a single spectator. The visitor is now in the most isolated, darkest and smallest underground area in the Museum. The journey from this point forward is one of ascension and finding the comfort of familiar space as floor levels begin to rise and natural light begins to penetrate the interior once again. Visitors exit the Museum by ascending up to the level of the existing Monument, regaining the visual and auditory connection with the park environs.

The building enjoys the environment benefits of a green roof, including natural insulation from both heat and sound. The design is particularly environmentally sustainable as it is a subterranean building. The roof top garden showcases ornamental native grasses such as blue garma, and climate appropriate grasses including esparto grass and pine muhly grass. The garden is totally organic and will be maintained without the use of chemical compounds. The building is on its way to receiving a Gold LEED rating - the national standard of sustainable architecture.

Awards

LAMOTH won a 2008 Los Angeles Business Council - Los Angeles Architectural Award of Excellence in the category of Green Building Award for Design Concept.

LAMOTH received a 2011 Green Good Design Award from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban studies.

The Museum was also awarded a 2011 Design Excellence Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects California Council.