Daniel Libeskind (2008)


Yerba Buena: 736 Mission Street, CJM (View Map)

36 diamond-shaped windows light the top floor of the metal cube known as the Yud in the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM). Once inside, visitors see how the soaring walls and windows carve the space with sunlight. The museum’s vision of the relationship between tradition and innovation, legacy and invention, is perfectly embodied in the Yud and the building itself, one of the most intriguing designs by the studio led by architect Daniel Libeskind.

Inspired by the phrase “L’Chaim,” meaning “To Life,” Libeskind let the Hebrew letters that spell “Chai,” “Chet” and “Yud” guide the form of the building. The entire ground-level lobby reveals a dramatic view of the skylights and the Chai, the southern wing where the museum visit begins. An illuminated stair rises from the lobby through the southern edge of the Chet, crosses the central point of Yud, and emerges into the Chet's northern wing.

Best Viewing: The shape overlooking Yerba Buena Lane is the Yud. After dark, stand in the museum's entrance plaza to take in the dramatic warm light emanating from the Yud's diamond-shaped windows. Access the interior during museum operating hours with paid admission.

Presenting Sponsor

5M is a new, vibrant mixed-use destination in the heart of San Francisco located at the intersection of 5th and Mission streets. Developed by Brookfield Properties, named “Developer of the Year” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2021, the four-acre parcel was previously home to parking lots and underutilized buildings. Now, it has been transformed into a lively community for locals and visitors alike.