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Japanese Architectural Unit SANAA Unveils New Building for Bezalel Academy of Art and Design

The new building of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, designed and built by the architectural firm SANAA, led by Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, together with the Israeli architectural firm HQ Architects, recently opened (November 10, 2022).

The theme is "Connection”. The school, which was previously located in the suburbs, now moved to the center of Jerusalem to provide a new base for the school.

SANAA started the project through a competition in 2011. The fascinating point of this project," says SANAA partner Sumitaka Tanase, "is that it is a very new form of building in this city, yet it has a sense of connection and unity with the city. We believe this relationship will serve as a platform for the Bezalel Academy to foster diversity and interaction among its departments. The creativity and life of the students will spill over and energize the neighborhood, which in turn will influence the creativity of the students."

The integration of indoor and outdoor spaces is a hallmark of SANAA. The building's integration into its environment creates unique conditions for education. For the neighboring community, too, because from here passersby can look inside, walk around, and see what the art school is all about.

The new building complex, named the "Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Campus," is located on a hill overlooking the Old City. It is located in the dense urban history of Jerusalem, and the architectural team wanted to respect that. The result is an open, transparent building with a terrace that looks like a waterfall. At the same time, this approach breaks up the volume of the building, creating a kind of "village" with intimate small buildings, routes, plazas, and views carved inside and out.

(Photo courtesy of Sumitaka Tanase)


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