Rotate, ascend, turn East. “90 Degrees”, an installation by HQ Architects | The Strength of Architecture

Description of project by HQ Architects


Hansen House is a historic hospital that cared for people with leprosy, established in Jerusalem in 1887. Nowadays it is transformed into a design, media and technology cultural center and is the home of the Jerusalem Design Week, which is now in its 8th edition.

The structure is under strict preservation regulations and it can only undergo minor changes. HQ Architects undertook the challenge to design a temporary intervention for the historic building. The installation forms a space that serves as a showcase for exhibitions during the Jerusalem Design Week, and creates a new image for Hansen House and a fresh experience for its visitors.

The installation

Responding to this year’s curatorial theme, EAST, while dealing with a sensitive historic context, HQ Architects designed 90 Degrees, a large scale installation that shifts the building’s orientation. Hansen House’s dominant character is oriented from south to north, creating a complex circulation between the interior spaces. Can a building change its orientation?

90 Degrees responds to both this year’s curatorial theme, and to the spatial needs of the various exhibitions taking place during the Design Week. The content of the Design Week is built of distinct joints that create a temporary sequence through which the visitor will wish to move. 90 Degrees transforms the appearance and organization of the building by taking into consideration both the permanent structural limitations and the temporary needs of the Design Week.

The installation is comprised of a diagonal scaffolding system that climbs the building from west to east, from ground level to above the roof, and rotates the orientation 90 Degrees forcing the visitors to face towards the East. The steps form a physical platform approximately 14 meters high. 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.

The flexibility of the scaffolding as a material, together with its structural qualities enables the addition of a new space by gently surrounding and penetrating the existing building.

“The opportunity to revisit the historic building of Hansen House, an inseparable part of Jerusalem’s rich heritage, and to create a new, ephemeral space is extraordinary. By carefully engaging with the existing structure, we created an intervention that doesn’t just shift the positioning and appearance of Hansen House, but also our sense of place. 90 Degrees creates new spaces, stimulates interaction between the building and the visitors, and suggests alternative sequences of movement by engaging issues of history, culture, orientation and experience.”

Erez Ella, Founding Partner at HQ Architects.

Early-comers who will climb the front from beginning to end, west to east, will catch the first rays of sunrise over Jerusalem.