Topic: Holy Land News
The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design is conducting an international architecture competition for the design of its new campus in the center of Jerusalem, and invites architects from around the world to participate.
Established in 1906 as the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, Bezalel is celebrating its centenary as Israel’s leading academy in its field. Bezalel incorporates both traditional crafts and state-of-the-art technologies throughout its 10 departments: Fine Arts, Architecture, Industrial Design, Visual Communications, Photography, Video, Animation, Ceramic and Glass Design, Jewelry and Fashion, and History and Theory. The Academy is home to 1,765 students and 400 teachers, and is spread over three campuses – Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, the Historic Building of Bezalel in Jerusalem City Center, and the Bezalel Gallery in Tel Aviv.
About the New Campus
The main campus of the Academy on Mount Scopus is distant and isolated from the city center, disconnected from any social or public association. The relocation of the campus to the center of Jerusalem presents not merely a physical move, but a cultural shift through which Bezalel aims to continue to grow as an active and dynamic hub in the city, participating in Jerusalem’s urban life, allowing students and teachers to form unconstrained relationships and to cultivate mutual inspiration with the diverse inhabitants of the city.
About the Site
The vacant building site is approximately 9,182m2 and is in the center of the City of Jerusalem, about 300m from the historic Old City and within the area known as the ‘Russian Compound’. It sits on a small hill located on a prominent North-South ridge, with Northern and Easter views overlooking the city. In 1858, the compound had been sold to the Russian Empire who developed it as a pilgrimage center with hospices, a hospital, the Russian Mission building and the Holy Trinity Cathedral as its centerpiece. With the rise of communist rule in the Soviet Union, the stream of Russian pilgrims to Jerusalem ceased almost entirely. The British Mandate then converted the Compound into one of their military bases in Jerusalem. Following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, most of the buildings in the Compound were sold by the Soviet Union to the Israeli government, who used them as part of the government center. Rehabilitation and preservation of the Compound is part of the scheme for the development of the city center as a business, cultural and public district.
The competition will be conducted in two phases and is open to all architects. The official language of the competition is English.