90 Degrees is a creative response to the Jerusalem Design Week’s curatorial theme, EAST, the sensitive local context, the permanent structural limitations and the temporary needs of the festival.
The installation is comprised by a scaffolding system that wraps around the historic Hansen House, a hospital for people with leprosy established in Jerusalem in 1887, radically altering the building’s circulation, appearance and identity. The 14 meters high added structure, consisting of pink-clad staircases and terraces, suggests a shortcut to both the top of the building and between the floors, allowing the exhibition to have a continuous flow. 90 Degrees’ new circulation pattern gives visitors the chance to explore areas formerly inaccessible and a new perspective of the building and the exhibits.
The flexibility of the scaffolding as a material and its structural qualities, enables the addition of a new space by gently surrounding and penetrating the under preservation building. This elevated space creates a link between the old and the new and suggests an alternative journey through Hansen House, while offering views beyond the building and the exhibition, overlooking Jerusalem. By carefully engaging with the existing structure, HQ Architects’ intervention doesn’t just shift the positioning and appearance of Hansen House, but also stimulates interaction between the building and the visitors while engaging issues of orientation, history, culture and experience.
Historic context and sustainability
90 Degrees is an installation showcasing innovative thinking in regards to conservation practice. HQ Architects’ design approach in dealing with a preservation structure was to proceed with caution and confidence in rethinking how the building can be efficient and responsive to the current times and the needs of the festival it is housing. In this case, HQ Architects’ response was to challenge the creation of an ephemeral intervention for a historic building in a sensitive, respectful yet innovative manner. By not being allowed to even drill into it, we used a very gentle and thoughtful approach on how to add or change anything to the existing fabric. We chose to attach a staircase to it, in order to make the building easier to navigate for its visitors and relevant to its current programmatic use.
Moreover, with 90 Degrees being a temporary intervention that only lasted a week, we wanted to ensure we provide a design response that was equally creative and sustainable. By choosing the scaffolding as a structural material, we used a building material that would live a second life when the design festival would be over. By using scaffolding – a predominantly construction material - it was easy for us to re use it after the end of installation. The whole 90 Degrees structure was made of multi-use parts, which were dismantled in order to be used in other projects.
HQ Architects is an international practice founded in Tel Aviv in 2008 by Erez Ella, which combines innovative and high quality design with strong technical expertise, and spearheads the design and construction over many projects of various scales in Israel and abroad.
HQ Architects’ interest in technology centered design is evident in various projects, including being part of the US-Israeli team for the NASA challenge “Habitat on Mars” and an exhibition at the UN Conference HABITAT III in 2016.
The practice showcases strong expertise in cultural and institutional projects, including the Michael Sela Auditorium at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance Kushner building currently under construction.
HQ Architects joined S A N A A to realise the currently under construction 45,000 sm new campus of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.