Located in the citiy center of Mainz, south-west of the central station, the old jewish cemetery Judensand streches over 9,4 ha of land. Within this, the competition area focusses on the visitor cemetery, the monument-cemetery and the visitor center including a new entry and exit.
Center of our design proposal were specific questions regarding the site’s enclosure, with its boundaries and accessiblity. Walls, fences and pathways set the formal and physical starting point, on which we built up on, with respect to what already exists embracing its religious, historical and cultural significance.
Firstly, concerning the border of the visitor center, we aimed to establish insight into the site as well as on the historic gravestones by installing a new, black, rhythmically structured fence. In order to reflect the park-like gestus of the area, the fence is framed with successive planting. The foreseen entrance and road access is defined by a compression of the fence into an opaque surface, which will be 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, the wall stresses the difference of new and old, while also working as a distinctive barrier to the next door housing.
The visitor center adapts to the manifold spatial structure of the cemetery and translates it into its own distinctive form language. In order to create a dramaturgical entrance, the roof has been pulled down deeply, resulting in a low-rise entry, that brings the visitor into a different world. Contrary to this, the inside of the visitor center opens up with a ceiling height of around six meters. Upon entering the visitor directly faces the outside. With the help of panoramic windows, the meaningful surroundings of the outside are immediately incorporated.