SANAA Unveils Plans for New Downtown Arts & Design Campus in Jerusalem


Today, SANAA (Sejima & Nishizawa and Associates) unveiled plans for a 400,000 square-foot building in 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…

Church © SANAA

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.

Entrance © SANAA

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.

Museum © SANAA

“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.”

City Hall © SANAA

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.

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "SANAA Unveils Plans for New Downtown Arts & Design Campus in Jerusalem" 10 Jun 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
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  • w

    they should have hired todd williams billie tsien

  • Scott Warner

    Love the structure, lightness, and transparency of the project. SANAA does a great job of creating interesting overlapping spaces through simple column and slab construction.

  • Nikola

    How much energy this will cost for air conditioning during the hot Jerusalem summer. The climate there is almost like in desert during the summer. Or it is another “susteinable” project?

    • youri favre

      Hi Nikola, they seemed to have taken a special care about protecting the glazed areas by huge caps. I’m assuming that they worked with an heliodon and that during the summer the sun will not leak the windows. I would add that sannaa built a few transparents projects in countries where thermique regulation is not a joke and energies price is high (france with louvre lens, switzerland with rolex center in Lauzanne…) so I guess they can mixe big glazed walls and good insulation.
      Don’t you think?

    • Brett

      You are mistaken, as Jerusalem’s altitude keeps it cooler than Tel Aviv or desert cities like Beersheva and Eilat in southern Israel. The average high temperature in July and August in 29 C.

  • Ronen Bekerman

    Sidetracking from the main subject here…

    You got to be kidding me Archdaily… After posting and article asking if renderings are bad for architecture you publish this without any drawings? ONLY RENDERINGS ;)

    I’m not against renders but here you must show more than that. If these renders where enough to understand the project that would be ok – but they are not.

    • Allan

      It’s better than posting nothing. At least now we have some knowledge about the feeling and essence of this.

    • Richie

      They can only publish what the architects decide to release, I guess?

    • Heywood Floyd

      Schematic renderings do not require drawings, only inexperienced students and clients who mistake schematic renderings for construction documents would require drawings at this point in the project. Get out there in the world and learn the process of making architecture and what deliverables are typically required at each phase before whinning about a lack of drawings for a project that clearly has not even gotten into DD yet.

  • Ronen Bekerman

    How can you study in such a place? really?

    • PUK

      Dude you are not paying Archdaily for the demands that you are making here. Just enjoy and learn what is provided by the designers. May be in future you can learn more about this project.

  • AK

    Actually the summer in Jerusalem is not that hot.

  • adam madasa

    reminds me of 1st year projects in Architecture school

  • naama

    Even though the text is in Hebrew, you are welcome to impress the plans of the project on the following link:,14710,L-3101317,00.html