Yitzhak Rabin Center for Israel Studies and Rabin Tomb

Tel Aviv, Israel, 1999 / Middle East / Cultural Health & Education

Located in Northern Tel Aviv on an escarpment atop an abandoned wartime emergency power-generating station, the Yitzhak Rabin Center holds a museum commissioned as a memorial to the slain Israeli Leader. Two great halls are crowned by sculptural, undulating roof shells, which stand as prominent features on the Yarkon River.

The center contains a museum focusing on Rabin’s life, an auditorium, a research institute devoted to the historical study of his era, a library and archive, and a multipurpose hall. The existing power station’s outer wall forms a cliff-like structure overlooking the Yarkon River. Above this structure, a two-story arcade traverses east to west and opens to a roof terrace with views of the city to the south. The great hall and museum to the east and the library and research center to the west frame the arcade. The great hall protrudes toward the south, affording dramatic vistas of the metropolitan region and the Mediterranean.

The museum includes a series of galleries devoted to each chapter in Rabin’s life. Both the great hall and the library are roofed by undulating and overhanging shell-like elements that shade the glazed walls and reflect diffused light inward.

Leah Rabin commissioned the memorial tomb just two weeks after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. Although the tombs for the heads of state and leaders of the nation section of Har HaZikaron, the Mount of Remembrance, are standard black bazelet stone slabs, the unique design was considered appropriate in response to the circumstances of Rabin’s death and its importance as a national memorial.

The design was presented to Leah and her family, who selected the clear, simple geometry with black and white stones. A special cabinet committee of the government approved the design, which deviates from the usual tombs for the leaders of the nation.

The spare form of the monument is comprised of two halves, dark and light, which when brought together form a half circle. An eternal flame burns at the base of their separation.

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