Western Wall Prayer Space

Client Government of Israel
Location Jerusalem, Israel
Project Type Public & Cultural
Status Concept Only

The Western Wall Prayer Space experiments with a series of platforms allowing visitors to ascend from the archaeological excavations up to the level of the Northern Kotel.

Handel Architects was asked to assist the Israeli Government, the Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism, as well as Women of the Wall, in the creation of an egalitarian prayer space adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza (which is under de-facto Jewish Orthodox control). The design objective was to create a civic space that would give equal stature to these religious groups that have been marginalized in modern Israeli society. The site of this new prayer space would be in the present day archaeological park, in between the Davidson Center, The Western Wall and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The historic and sensitive location posed a number of design challenges, including the integration of significant existing archeological structures, as well as topographical and circulatory obstacles as a result of the significant changes in elevation across multiple sites. The proposed design suggested a series of large and overlapping ‘floating’ terraces that negotiated the multiple grades and minimized impact on the historic and exposed elements of the site. The lightweight and visually porous design stands in contrast to the heavy and monolithic nature of the surroundings, and proposes shade structures, vegetation and human-scaled spaces.

Scheme 1

Scheme 2