Uri Geller Museum, Jaffa
This is a private museum in the old city of Jaffa, adjacent to the ancient walls of the city. The property was previously owned by an artist but unoccupied for many years. Uri Geller approached us with the challenge of developing a space for the display of his collection which includes a 1966 Cadillac adorned with bent spoons signed by dignitaries rivetted to the car! The challenge has been to find the perfect balance between the interest of the objects to be displayed and the monastic beauty of the space.
The space is largely underground with only the south façade bringing in daylight and fresh air. This created challenges regarding lighting and ventilation particularly given the extreme humidity and saline content of the air. Pre-design involved extensive documentation and research, both historic and technical.
We knew of two underground wells which were to be included in the exhibition space. Construction in the old city often leads to wonderful discoveries which require design flexibility. Two more rooms were discovered during construction as well as a soap factory dating from the Ottoman era. These spaces were uncovered and documented by the antiquities department and are being integrated in the museum design. Uri Geller also succeeded in leasing the adjacent café which will now be included as part of the museum.
The joints between the stones in the beautiful cross vaulted ceiling had to be replaced with a with lime plaster, necessary because of the sandstone construction and the extreme levels of humidity and salinity. Steel anchors are being drilled through the walls to reinforce the structure, the exterior stonework has been cleaned and repointed and the entire south facade restored including the fenestration and window guards.
The original space is so beautiful that we have focused of design on the custom-made lighting as well as threading the complex services through this ancient stone structure unseen, as if they were always there.
The Museum includes 500 m2 of exhibition space on two levels, a small café, museum shop and visitor’s facilities.
STATUS: In progress
SITE: Jaffa, Israel
SIZE: 500 m²
CLIENT: Uri Geller
Design: PPY Architects
Project Architect: Dan Price