GIFA Award of Excellence 2017 : Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Foundation by Lewis Levin Architects

Lewis Levin Architects

The Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Foundation building, houses an organisation that aims to increase awareness of Holocaust and Genocide issues in the 20th Century.  Situated on a site at the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and Duncombe Road, the building presents a bold edifice to the Street edges. Rendered in English-bond red brick, concrete, stone, and steel and glass, the building narrates a story that makes references to various markers in history that relate to its programme. Intricately detailed in its composition, the building comprises a series of inter-connected spatial experiences and narratives that complement the notions of memory, contemplation and reflection. The whimsical railway tracks embedded in the walls, recall the industrial age and its role in humanitarian atrocities across the globe, while at the same time rendering the building façades in a refreshingly well-proportioned manner.

The programmatic spaces are skilfully woven around internal courtyards that provide relief from the busy surrounds. The building respects the residential scale of the neighbourhood, with a poetic juxtaposition of light and materiality, that allows the building to change as the light of the day changes. The exhibitions inside the building are successful in engaging the visitors by not being overwhelming and busy.