Urban campus

Students will be able to take Technion classes this fall in a historical setting in Tel Aviv’s Ganei Sarona.

New technion 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
New technion 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
In Tel Aviv, situated between the largely white framework dating back to the early 20th century and the newly designed high-rises, is a piece of history that was recently renovated and is in the restoration projects such as the recently opened Jerusalem Ottoman-era railway station (repurposed as a pedestrian and restaurant pavilion), the Ganei Sarona project aims to incorporate its historical roots into the remodeled building. Creating what architects refer to as a “lifestyle center,” the space will have upscale restaurants, cafes, museums and a visitors’ center in addition to the Technion buildings.
“I think it came out very well,” says Nitza Szmuk, the architect of the buildings, who recently retired from the Technion. “I’m very proud of it.”
Szmuk says that many factors went into the Technion buildings, including budget and various people making decisions about the Sarona campus. But in the end, she says, “We finished on time, and I think it will be a great experience to learn from. Students who have already visited the campus say that it is a completely different experience.”
The Sarona campus will include three buildings. Two will contain 16 classrooms, and one will house the administrative offices. While the campus is not yet complete, the buildings are scheduled to be open for classes this fall.
Before the opening of the Sarona campus, the Technion held classes in Ramat Gan, which Szmuk says was “not a very inspiring location.” In addition to Sarona’s being in an urban setting in the center of Tel Aviv, Szmuk says the location offers a pedestrian promenade, a park where students can study between classes and easy access to Hashalom railway station.
“Students come from all over the country to take classes at the Technion,” she says.
Sarona’s central location is convenient for students from Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.
The design of the Ganei Sarona project was modeled after the popular Grove in Southern California, which features a farmers’ market and multipurpose space with a large pedestrian promenade.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” says Ofer Shachal, chairman of Azuhot Hanof of the Israel Foreign Affairs Ministry. “In a modern world, many universities have branches outside their host cities. I think the presence of hundreds of students will give the area added value.”
The Technion’s Tel Aviv campus sits among the 33 original Templer houses on the 47-acre Ganei Sarona site. On the site used for many years as government buildings and army space, the satellite campus will host the university’s oneyear Start-Up MBA program in English, along with industrial design, interior design and other programs previously housed in the Ramat Gan facility. The new MBA program is designed to give students access to Tel Aviv start-ups and entrepreneurs in the area.
Tucked away in a city where you think everything is already built up, students attending Israel’s oldest university will soon be able to enjoy classes in a historical setting that is working to create architectural character in an urban environment.