Located in the city centre of Mainz, south-west of the central station, the old Jewish cemetery Judensand stretches over 9,4 ha of land. The competition area focuses on the visitor cemetery, the monument cemetery, and the visitor centre including new entry and exit units.
Our design proposal addresses specific issues regarding the enclosure of the site, its boundaries and accessibility. Walls, fences, and pathways set a formal physical starting point, which provides the ground for further design, treating the existing structures with respect and embracing their religious, historical, and cultural significances.
For the visitor centre border, our design proposes a see-through black rhythmical fence that establishes a visual connection with the outside. In order to reflect the park-like organisation of the area, the fence is framed with greenery. The entrance and road access are defined by an opaque surface that contrasts the gapped fence and is accompanied by a plaque. In the north-west of the cemetery, the continuity of the existing wall is a necessary element for creating a differentiated sense of space. Reconstructed with new clinker bricks, the wall highlights the difference between new and old, while working as a distinctive barrier to the housing next door.
The visitor centre adapts to the manifold spatial structure of the cemetery and translates it into its own distinctive language. In order to create a dramaturgical entrance, the roof of the building is declined, resulting in a low-rise entry that welcomes the visitors into a different world. Contrary to this, the inside of the visitor centre opens up with a six-metre-high ceiling. Upon entering, the visitor directly faces the outside: the panoramic windows introduce the meaningful surroundings into the building.