July 14, 2024
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Bezalel Academy to Build Jerusalem Campus for 2021

As Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design’s students prepare to return from summer break, the development of their future state-of-the-art home in the heart of Jerusalem continues at a rapid pace. The new campus will bear the name “The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Campus,” and is slated to open in 2021. Israel’s oldest institution of higher education’s new site will bring together its 2,000 students and 500 faculty members in the center of Jerusalem, in the “Russian Compound” area. The new campus will bring many of Bezalel’s different programs together in the center of the city, helping to revitalize Jerusalem’s role as an epicenter for arts and culture.

The campus move is being made possible largely due to a significant donation from U.S. philanthropist Morton Mandel. Other notable supporters include The Russell Berrie Foundation, The Polonsky Foundation, the William Davidson Foundation, the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, Romie and Blanche Shapiro, and Linda and Ilan Kaufthal.

The campaign is also receiving generous support from the State of Israel. In total, current commitments and donations have brought Bezalel to the $70 million mark of the $100 million campaign that will cover the cost of construction, with an additional $10 million required for equipping and moving to the new facility, plus $15 million for a maintenance fund.

The design of the cutting-edge facility was created by Pritzker Prize winners Sejima and Nishizawa and Assoc. (SANAA) architects from Japan. It will feature a modern glass exterior fused with old Jerusalem stone, speaking to Bezalel’s vision of bridging the old with the new. In order to fully allow for the true center of Jerusalem experience, the building’s roof features grassy areas offering panoramic views of the city. The 400,000-square foot state-of-the-art campus will be SANAA’s first design in the Middle East.

The campus will house a library, galleries, workshops, classrooms, studios, offices, auditoriums, a cafeteria and a shop. The new site will facilitate interdepartmental collaboration throughout the wide variety of departments of the world-renowned institution and allow for active social and cultural involvement in the city’s life. Revitalization of the center of the city will occur through significant urban development and commercial expansion triggered by the burgeoning activity on Bezalel’s new campus. The location of the new campus sits at the physical crossroads of East and West Jerusalem—where secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews, as well as Arab residents, meet—creating a powerful opportunity for a rich, unparalleled multi-cultural interaction for students and the muses that inspire their works. This in turn will strengthen Jerusalem as an international cultural destination.

“We are very happy to have crossed an important threshold in our capital campaign. The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design maintains both the privilege and responsibility of developing Israel’s art and culture scene and this new campus will play an important role in facilitating its growth,” said Prof. Adi Stern, president of Bezalel. “Bezalel has earned an international reputation for innovative art and design, with alumni contributing to Israel’s positive and pluralistic image around the world. Our new campus in the heart of the city is the most significant project being undertaken in Jerusalem today.”

Founded in 1906, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is Israel’s oldest institution of higher education and the birthplace of Israel’s art culture. With programs ranging across the disciplines, Bezalel’s graduates influence art, design and architecture throughout the world utilizing the top skills instilled within them during their time at the top-notch art academy in Jerusalem. Bezalel offers courses in fine arts, architecture, ceramic and glass design, industrial design, jewelry and fashion design, photography, visual communications, screen-based arts, urban design and art history and theory. For more information, please visit http://www.bezalel.ac.il/en/about/newcampus.

 

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