As part of the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, a new home for the IDF Gaza Brigade was needed. The cultural center is an integral part of the design for the new military complex and its purpose is to serve the brigade’s personnel and offer them significant recreational and cultural experiences.
The center comprises a multi-purpose 400 seats auditorium, a regional library, a memorial area, a large patio and a heritage garden; It is designed to complement and harmonically integrate with the desert landscape surrounding it.
The three dimensional composition articulately expresses each of its separate parts – the library, hall and stage area, the integrated patio, and the main lobby, which serves as a connective link between the various parts of the building.
The exterior finishes are a combination of sandstone and limestone plaster, which give the impression of growing from the ground where the center is planted.
The contour lines of the structure are derived from the building’s outline created from the arched form defining the wall of the main square. In this wall a gate opens leading to the inner yard from which the patio and lobby evolve, thus connecting all parts of the building.
The library, lobby, administration and backstage areas are located on the western side facing the landscape of the nearby stream and its flora, while the hall and patio (heritage garden) with the opaque side face the main square – where public activities take place – creating a side wall to the square.
A service entrance to the stage and storage room is located in proximity to the backstage area and adjacent to the western access road.
The entrance to the building is planned in a way that exposes the building gradually to the visitor’s eye. Starting from the main square, then through an opening in the arched wall lining the square, an opening between two columns leading to the beautiful oasis-like yard and from there directing the visitor to either the hall, the library or the heritage garden.
The directionality of the space engages the visitor with a story, slowly exposing its different elements, and thus maintaining a sense of suspense and surprise.
The multi-purpose auditorium is shaped like a horseshoe, where the focus is the stage, also guaranteeing optimal visibility and acoustics.
The inner envelope of the hall is built of vertical peels that grow as you advance further from the stage. The “legs” of the peel are wood coated while the ceiling head is made of plaster panels. Lighting fixtures are concealed between the peels, illuminating the space with a pleasant glow.
The peels are built so that sound is reflected from the front side of the hall and is absorbed in the rear.
The library is illuminated from the northwestern windows facing the far landscape of the stream and its flora and from the opposite windows facing the near landscape of the heritage garden.
The heritage garden is concealed on almost all sides and is connected to the library on one hand and the entrance patio on the other hand. The garden is designed as a dry garden, incorporating some local flora and vegetation. The walls of the heritage garden will include bronze plaques, documenting the heritage of the center.