Architecture of an Existential Threat by Adam Reynolds

Issue 77

 Since its creation in 1948, the State of Israel has felt itself isolated and beset by enemies seeking its destruction. This collective siege mentality is best expressed in the ubiquity of the thousands of bomb shelters found throughout the country. By law all Israelis are required to have access to a bomb shelter and rooms that can be sealed off in case of an unconventional weapons attack. There are over 10,000 public and private bomb shelters found throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories.

The photographs in this series document these bomb shelters and offer a window into the collective mindset of the Israeli people. Israelis have normalized this “doomsday space” into their daily lives, often using the shelters as dance studios, community centers, pubs, and places of worship. For Jewish Israelis haunted by a history of exile and persecution, these shelters are the architecture of an existential threat – both real and perceived.

Adam Reynolds lives and works in Columbus, Indiana.
To view more of Adam's work please visit his website.

 School bomb shelter, Ashkelon.

School bomb shelter, Ashkelon.

 Donor plaques at the entrance of the L'Chaim Holocaust Survivors Group Center/public bomb shelter, Jerusalem.

Donor plaques at the entrance of the L'Chaim Holocaust Survivors Group Center/public bomb shelter, Jerusalem.

 Conference room/bomb shelter at the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem.

Conference room/bomb shelter at the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem.

 Mosque/bomb shelter at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Mosque/bomb shelter at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

 Public bomb shelter at Ein Zivan, along the border with Syria in the occupied Golan Heights.

Public bomb shelter at Ein Zivan, along the border with Syria in the occupied Golan Heights.

 Student rec room/bomb shelter, University of Haifa.

Student rec room/bomb shelter, University of Haifa.

 Public bomb shelter beneath apartment complex, Jerusalem.

Public bomb shelter beneath apartment complex, Jerusalem.

 Public bomb shelter, Haifa.

Public bomb shelter, Haifa.

 Reinforced 'safe area' conference room in the Knesset, Jerusalem.

Reinforced 'safe area' conference room in the Knesset, Jerusalem.

 Youth activity center/bomb shelter, Na'ale settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Youth activity center/bomb shelter, Na'ale settlement in the occupied West Bank.

 Home cosmetics studio inside of a 'mamad' safe-room, Gedera.

Home cosmetics studio inside of a 'mamad' safe-room, Gedera.

 Youth activity center/public bomb shelter, Kiryat Shmona.

Youth activity center/public bomb shelter, Kiryat Shmona.

 Pub/bomb shelter, Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

Pub/bomb shelter, Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

 Employee bomb shelter inside the Tel Hai Industrial Park.

Employee bomb shelter inside the Tel Hai Industrial Park.

 Sephardic Synagogue and Beit Midrash/bomb shelter, Eilat.

Sephardic Synagogue and Beit Midrash/bomb shelter, Eilat.

 Bomb shelter inside of a primary school in the Druze village of Hurfeish in the Galilee.

Bomb shelter inside of a primary school in the Druze village of Hurfeish in the Galilee.

 Main train station in Sderot, built to withstand incoming rocket fire from Gaza.

Main train station in Sderot, built to withstand incoming rocket fire from Gaza.

 Abandoned Israeli military bunker outside of Jericho in the occupied West Bank.

Abandoned Israeli military bunker outside of Jericho in the occupied West Bank.

 Door inside the municipal bomb shelter, Haifa.

Door inside the municipal bomb shelter, Haifa.

 Concrete tube shelter, Nitzan.

Concrete tube shelter, Nitzan.