Western Wall Precinct

Jerusalem, Israel, 1985

The holiest of sites for Judaism, the Western Wall is the remnant of the Second Temple, built by Herod and destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D. The space in front of the Wall was formed in 1967, when residences were removed to accommodate the pilgrims who pray there daily. The plan will transform the present accidental state of the precinct into a series of public piazzas, archaeological gardens, and public institutions. The principal idea is to excavate the praying area down to its original Herodian street level, nine meters below the present terrain. A series of public squares would terrace upward, rising from the large gathering places to the east, up to the small-scale residential structures of the Jewish Quarter to the west. To the south, the archaeological ruins of an Umayyad palace would be partially restored and a segment of the temple's grand stair would be reconstructed. The plan separates the sacred and secular traffic, thus an arcaded street running parallel to the Wall is proposed, connecting Dung Gate to the city markets. A series of new grand stairs descend from the upper city, improving access.

Project Type: Academic

Client: Corporation for the Redevelopment of the Jewish Quarter

Cost: $40 million