Center for Human Rights Education Philadelphia Building

Center for Human Rights Education, Philadelphia Building, Project, News, Design, Image

PHRF Landmark Development in Philadelphia

Center for Human Rights Education, PA, USA – design by Moshe Safdie and Associates

28 Jan 2010

Center for Human Rights Education Philadelphia

Internationally Acclaimed Architect to Design Landmark Building At the Site of North America’s First Holocaust Monument

PHRF Landmark Development in Philadelphia

Mayor Nutter Instrumental in Securing Lease for Monument Property on Ben Franklin Parkway

Images : Moshe Safdie and Associates

PHILADELPHIA, January 27, 2010 – The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation (PHRF) today announced plans for its Center for Human Rights Education. PHRF has secured a long-term lease/sublease for the 10,000 square foot parcel of land at 16th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is the site of North America’s first Holocaust Monument – The Monument to the Six Million Jewish Martyrs. Mayor Michael Nutter was instrumental in producing the 80-year lease for the historic property.

Center for Human Rights Education Philadelphia Building

In addition to obtaining rights to use the prestigious Monument Parcel, PHRF has also commissioned Moshe Safdie, the internationally acclaimed architect of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. Safdie, who began his career in Philadelphia in 1962 when he joined the local office of renowned architect Louis Kahn, is also currently designing the renovation and addition to the Free Library of Philadelphia.

“I was overwhelmed with the passion that Mayor Nutter shared for this project,” said Jeffrey Schwartz, President of PHRF. “Obtaining this land, which serves as a striking symbol of the human struggle, was a milestone for our organization, as it gave us the momentum we needed to secure the aid of Moshe Safdie.”

Center for Human Rights Education Philadelphia Building

At the center of the project is a hexagonal structure that contains a theatre that will offer a powerful experiential environment in which visitors will learn the uniquely tragic history of the Holocaust and other genocides. Attracting students, regional tourists, Philadelphia natives and world travelers, this landmark will largely utilize audio-video technologies to educate people regarding the mistakes of the past and the opportunities for the future, so that generations to come can combat discrimination and respect human rights.

“Together, with the support of the City and Safdie’s inspirational design, I am certain that we will create much more than a place for Holocaust remembrance, but rather a place that is also dedicated to dialogue, growth and education . ultimately a beacon of light and understanding in an often hostile world,” said Marc Felgoise, Vice President of PHRF.

Center for Human Rights Education Philadelphia Building

The Monument to the Six Million Jewish Martyrs was given to the City of Philadelphia in April 1964 by the Association of Jewish New Americans and the Federation of Jewish Agencies of Greater Philadelphia. Created by internationally acclaimed sculptor Nathan Rappaport, the monument is cast in bronze and stands 18 feet in height. Safdie’s unique design will allow the sculpture to remain untouched, as the building will be erected behind the sculpture.

“It is an honor to have been entrusted with the design of a place of remembrance and learning in the heart of historic downtown Philadelphia,” noted Safdie. “The precious site, a small triangular park containing the Holocaust Monument by Rappaport, calls for a subtle yet powerful structure. Bound by massive towers and other historic buildings around it, the structure, deploying glass and reflective material, all but disappears, reflecting its surroundings, the urban activities around it and the trees that contain it. During the day there is almost a sense of immateriality. At night, the lights within reflect, mingling with the lights of the city,” continued Safdie.

Center for Human Rights Education Philadelphia Building

“Upon entering the structure, all is transformed. There are two public levels: one at street level, and one below street level. The two-level hexagonal volume, clad with reflective metal at the center of the space, contains a contemplative space above and a presentation theatre below,” Safdie explains. “Galleries surround the hexagon at the lower level beneath the sidewalks The entire structure above ground, except for the hexagon, is entirely glass, generously shaded by the surrounding towers and trees. At night, the building glows subtly, drawing the public’s attention into its interior.”

Philadelphia Buildings

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE FOUNDATION Founded in 2005, The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation (PHRF) is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to ensuring the immortality of “Never Again,” through remembrance and education. The creation of a compelling destination landmark building, which will honor The Monument to the Six Million Jewish Martyrs, will enable PHRF to inspire all people to combat indifference, prejudice, bigotry and genocide, now and in the future, for all generations.

ABOUT MOSHE SAFDIE AND ASSOCIATES Moshe Safdie first established his architectural practice in 1964 in Montreal to design and supervise the construction of Habitat ’67. Today the principal office is in Boston, Massachusetts, with branch offices in Jerusalem, Toronto and Singapore. The internationally renowned practice is engaged in activities ranging from the design of public institutions – including museums, performing arts centers, libraries and university campuses; to the design of airports, housing, mixed-use complexes and new communities . in places as diverse in geography and culture as Boston, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Jerusalem, Mexico, Bangladesh and Singapore.

Safdie’s major complexes currently under construction include the National Museum of the Sikh People in the Punjab, India; Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort in Singapore; the United States Institute of Peace Headquarters on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas; and the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel in Jerusalem. Sarah Perz PR Contact for PHRF Director of Communications Laura Van De Pette

Center for Human Rights Education Philadelphia images / information from Moshe Safdie and Associates

Moshe Safdie


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Center for Human Rights Education Building