words Beatrice Galilee and Johanna Agerman
With the Israeli invasion of Gaza continuing, the centre has its work cut out. “In terms of the current war we started working last week on an initiative to call for a cease fire,” says Yael Patir, assistant of the director general of the Peres Centre for Peace. “We also sent a delegation to Sderot [close to the border of Gaza] to show our solidarity with the people there.”
The building, which opens to the public in March, is intended to be a neutral meeting point for Israelis and Palestinians, but although it will contain memorials to Nobel Peace Prize winners, it’s far from just a museum. It has a library, conference and office space, and recreational and sports facilities.
“It is important that we are establishing a space that will speak of the pain, loss and suffering of people, taking a human perspective on something that is normally just seen from a military perspective,” says Patir.
“It is not like a church or a memorial or a monument, it is something active,” says Fuksas of the project, which he spent 10 years working on. “Peace is something that you build day by day. There is nothing holy in peace. Peace is part of a concept. You have to love the others. You try to understand the others and you try to be part of a community.”
The only part of the building that is open faces the sea. The rest of the structure is made up of pale green precast concrete slabs layered with transparent and opaque glass. From the outside the concrete appears flat and calm, but inside it is erratic, irregular.
“It is a simple material and a poor material. I didn’t want to use a rich material,” says Fuksas. “Richness is often the reason of the war. If we tried to spend less and be more sustainable, we would be building the first stones for peace.”
images Moreno Maggi
The conference rooms overlook a glazed atrium
The structure of the Peres Peace House is layered concrete