“Yad Labanim” (“A Memorial to the Sons”) Competition Entry / Eli Gotman

Courtesy of

Designed by architect Eli Gotman, the proposal for the “Yad Labanim” (“A Memorial to the Sons”) is dedicated to commemorating the fallen soldiers in Israel’s wars and helping the bereaved families. The Yad Labanim building in Ramat Yishay, is in itself a monument, which begins with the wall buried in the ground carrying the names of the fallen perforated in it, continues to emerge out of the ground as a building, and ending as an illuminated library hovering over the square. More images and Gotman’s description after the break.

Courtesy of Eli Gotman

Many cities and towns in Israel have a “Beit Yad Labanim”, a memorial building, which also serves as a small community center and houses various activities on different occasions. Every now and then, a new building is erected, usually in honor of its town’s own fallen soldiers. The town of together with the “Yad Labanim” organization decided to hold an open competition for architects under the age of 40, for the design of the new Yad Labanim building. The total building area was to be 500 sqm in maximum 2 floors, on a lot sized approximately 2,300 sqm. The program of the project included a main memorial hall, 3 activity rooms (not specified) a library, a small ceremony square, and the accompanying facilities like bathrooms, kitchen, etc’.

Courtesy of Eli Gotman

“Yad Labanim” exists on tension between past and future, life and death, and day to day life and bereavement . By bringing life to a place of grief, memory gets the respect it deserves, not just on the one day every year – memorial day. In one movement, one mass, the project expresses that same tension upon which “Yad Labanim” exists. Tectonic schemes

Courtesy of Eli Gotman

A “pincer movement” which lowers the ground on one side and lifts it on the other, creates both the building and the surrounding landscaping. The slope that’s created consists of sitting steps, small lawns and a small plaza with a back wall used for day to day gatherings as well as for ceremonial occasions. Connecting the building to the upper street and raising the second floor allows the use of the roof as part of a continuous gardening strip while making the whole project more visible for those entering the town (from the roundabout). The building envelope, made of perforated metal cladding, begins as a supporting wall growing out of the ground, and rises gradually to create a structure that hovers above the entrance.

site plan

The Library, on one hand, is the end of the path, the point of light hovering in the air, facing the town and the living, and on the other hand – the entrance, facing the plaza and the memory of the fallen. The use of metal plates perforated at different levels, provides a variety of situations along the projects, from fully opaque plates with only the names in them, through mildly perforated areas where little light is needed, to a heavily perforated skin allowing light to enter the library while keeping the whole mass intact.

plan 01

The activity rooms on both sides of the entrance lobby can be used as an extension of the open space for special events. The back room, which replaces the existing shelter (there’s an existing neighborhood bomb shelter, which could be used within the project or replaced by a new one in today’s standards) , can be used as a club for teenagers, music room or a gym.

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "“Yad Labanim” (“A Memorial to the Sons”) Competition Entry / Eli Gotman" 15 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=291156>
  • Amir

    good proposition, even better than the those who won.