Zion Square Sculpture
Jerusalem / Israel / 2006 (Project)
Public space & sculpture for Jerusalem landmark square
Client: The Jerusalem Foundation
Structure: Marzoratti Ronchetti (IT)
Zion Square lies in the heart of secular Jerusalem, at the intersection between Jaffa Road, Ben-Yehuda Street, Shamai and Salomon streets, and has seen a tumultuous history of public demonstrations, suicide bombings, dramatic architectural interventions, all of which have left their scars on the square. The turn-of-the-century architectural relics that surround the once beautiful square are now covered in grime, and opportunistic, and often chaotic, signage. The brief given by the Jerusalem Foundation called for the introduction of a new landmark to adorn the central space of the square – a sculpture which would address the context of Zion Square, as well as provide a focal point for gathering, and a visual key to the multiple axes facing on to it. RAA created a canopy-like structure comprising of 400-odd rectangular cylinders of various cross-sectional sizes and lengths, clustered together to form a fanning cellular sheaf.
The individual cylinders or cells, are made of weathering steel (or Corten as it is commercially known), and clad on the inside in mirror-polished stainless steel. This material juxtaposition between the warm-coloured patina of the Corten and the cold metallic sheen of the stainless steel renders the sculpture earthy, solid, quite heavy from the outside, but reveals a dramatically different view when the visitor steps towards and under the sculpture: the shiny honeycomb collects slivers of sky and surrounding buildings, into a kaleidoscope of colour and light. This effect is further enhanced by the shadows cast on the ground beneath and around the sculpture – cojnuring the flagstone layout of Jerusalem Stone which, since British Mandatory times, was stipulated as the solely permissible building cladding material for the capital.