Bezalel Academy unveils $100 m. downtown campus

Academy of Arts reveals design for sprawling campus, receives $25 million infusion from Mandel Foundation for 2017 completion.

June 11, 2013 19:45
2 minute read.
ARTISTS RENDERING of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Bezalel Academy of Arts 370. (photo credit: Courtesy of SAANA)


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Bolstered by a $25 million infusion of funds to finance a sprawling new $100 million downtown campus, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design unveiled the blueprint for the 400,000 square-foot complex in Jerusalem Monday.

The campus will be located in the Russian Compound – between the Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Museum of Underground Prisoners – a site selected by the government, Jerusalem Municipality and academy. It is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

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To help expedite construction of the new complex, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, of Cleveland, gifted the academy $25 million as part of the school’s $100-million capital campaign to finance it.

“We are deeply grateful and honored by this gift,” said Prof. Eva Illouz, president of Bezalel Monday. “The new Bezalel campus will be home for the finest academy of arts, design and architecture in Israel.”

Established in 1906 by artist Boris Schatz, with the support of Theodor Herzl, Bezalel Academy is one of Israel’s leading institutions of art and design. Its new campus was designed by Japan’s SANAA architecture firm in collaboration with Israel’s Nir -Kutz Architects, and will feature multiple classrooms, studios, offices, two auditoriums, an operational area and various workshops.

“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 academy. “At the same time, it is also great news for the revitalization of the Jerusalem city center.”

Indeed, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat lauded the addition of the campus as part of the capital’s “cultural renaissance” at Monday’s unveiling.

“On behalf of the residents of Jerusalem, I would like to thank the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation for this momentous contribution to the new Bezalel campus in the heart of our city,” he said.

“The advent of a pioneering institution like Bezalel marks a historic turning point in the cultural renaissance of downtown Jerusalem [by] attracting thousands of students, young people, and artists to the city center.”

Morton L. Mandel, the foundation’s chairman and CEO, said the gift represents his hope to support Jerusalem and promote the arts in the country.

“[This] gift represents our desire to support Bezalel, the city of Jerusalem and the advancement of art in Israel,” said Mandel.

Construction is scheduled to commence this year.

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