Today, SANAA (Sejima & Nishizawa and Associates) unveiled plans for a 400,000 square-foot building in Jerusalem that will form a new, interdisciplinary downtown campus for the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. The competition-winning proposal, designed by the 2010 Pritzker laureates in collaboration with Israel’s Nir -Kutz Architects, features an array of stacked horizontal slabs that react to the area’s topography and surrounding context in order to create a series of outdoor terraced viewing platforms and multi-level interior spaces where students and teachers can meet, study and display their work.
More on the new SANAA-design downtown campus after the break...
Breaking tradition, the new school will encourage co-creation by consolidating its eight departments under one roof. Key programs include classrooms, studios, offices, two auditoriums, an operational area and various workshops.
The site of the new campus, located in the Russian Compound between the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Museum of Underground Prisoners, was chosen by the government of Israel, the Jerusalem municipality, and the Bezalel Academy for its “unique status as a multi-cultural meeting place, unrivaled in the world”. The move will allow the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design to aid in the rejuvenation of the downtown area by becoming an integral part of its vibrant street life.
“The new campus represents a breakthrough for the Academy, with a building that will respond to developing needs in light of the steady and significant increase in the number of our students,” said Dor Lin, Director of the Bezalel Academy, “At the same time, it is also great news for the revitalization of the Jerusalem city center.”
Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, said: "The advent of a pioneering institution like Bezalel marks a historic turning point in the cultural renaissance of downtown Jerusalem. Attracting thousands of students, young people, and artists to the city center, the new site will ensure a bustling, vibrant and innovative Jerusalem - the global capital of creativity."
Bezalel’s downtown campus is scheduled for completion in 2017.