The Department of Interior Design at the College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS) has developed into the largest accredited Design Department in Israel. By embracing curricular innovation, technology, collaborative methods and global perspectives, our Department has dramatically changed the country’s design culture both academically and professionally.
Within the spatial design discipline, our first task was to bring critical discussion on interior space to the center of the spatial debate. Holding to the slogan “design generates change” and by seeking critical and reflexive platforms, we try to show how design can be an agent for social change — when an agenda of social responsibility does not come at the expense of other agendas, but enriches them and serves as a catalyst for innovation.
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A city as ancient as Jerusalem keeps quite a few secrets hidden away in dark alleys and small nooks. But for one weekend, the city will fling open her doors and invite the public into some of the lesser-trod historical and artistic buildings during the annual “Houses from Within” Festival.
Visitors can wander through modern marvels such as a hard-hat tour of the construction sites and a train tunnel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Or they can explore the 500-yearold private home of former rabbi of the Western Wall Meir Yehuda Getz in the Jewish Quarter, in a tour given by his son Nuriel.
The event focuses on Jerusalem’s past as well as its future.
Architects, archeologists and other experts will give multiple tours at the abandoned Arab village of Lifta at the entrance to the capital or share secrets uncovered about the Old City Walls during the Israel Antiquities Authority’s five-year restoration of the walls.
But there are also ample opportunities for those interested in envisioning Jerusalem’s future, including a evening of short presentations by Jerusalem activists at the Museum on the Seam; and a tour of the commercial center outside of Damascus Gate by architects who want to completely renovate the area.
Cultural institutions, from the Jerusalem Bird Observatory to the Bible Lands Museum, will also host special tours and lectures.
In keeping with the philosophy of the Open House World Wide movement, all events are free and open to the public, though many require prior registration.
There are 15 cities around the world with Open House weekends, including Tel Aviv, Helsinki, New York, Melbourne, Barcelona, Chicago and Rome. The main aim of Open House is an educational and cultural event that celebrates architecture, according to the organization’s website.
Jerusalem’s event, which runs from Thursday through Saturday, features 110 tours and events, including a bike tour organized by Cycle Jerusalem.
Larger cities get even more expansive, with London hosting 750 separate tours and events during their weekend, which was October 5-7.
The sixth annual Houses from Within event is organized by the Jerusalem Municipality, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Tourism Ministry.
The King David Hotel in Jerusalem has made it into the “500 World’s Best Hotels of 2012″ list in Travel + Leisure magazine. The list which appears in the magazine’s August issue features yearly rankings based on readers’ selections. The readers rank hotels according to different criteria, including level of service, rooms, food and beverages, etc.
The list is divided by geographical regions with the King David being in the Middle East and Africa region. Though the magazine does not give the exact ranking of hotels in the general or regional list, each hotel receives an overall score after all the criteria have been calculated and weighed. The King David’s score places it among the top 37 hotels in the Middle East and Africa region and as the 368th best hotel in the world.
The capital city’s skyline is going to change beyond recognition after the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee on Monday approved a plan to build 12 skyscrapers at the city’s entrance. The goal is to turn the area around the Binyanei Hauma convention center and central bus station into the capital’s main business quarter.
The estimated cost of the plan is NIS 8.5 billion. Officials say it will add one million square meters of office space to the city, as well as some 40,000 new jobs.
“We’re creating a business center in the most accessible place. Combined with a large convention center, tourism and cultural diversity, the city’s entrance will become a leading business hub and attract companies, investors and many businesses,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Monday.
The plan calls for concentrating the various ministries’ district offices in the new center, as well as building 2,000 hotel rooms, high-rise buildings for private offices and a cinema complex. It also calls for expanding Binyanei Hauma.
At a later stage, the municipality intends to build a court complex for the magistrate and district courts and a space for the Jerusalem Prosecutor’s Office.
A municipality official said on Monday that the new commercial space is intended to encourage both employment and tourism, and to alleviate the heavy traffic in the city. This would be accomplished by the transfer of ministry offices that are now located in the center of town to the new space. Currently, these offices cause terrible traffic downtown, as well as parking shortages, explained Deputy Mayor Kobi Kahlon.
“Anyone who doesn’t have to enter the city shouldn’t do so. Leave the historic city to culture and tourism,” Kahlon said.
The Planning and Building Committee is also discussing a plan to turn the old ministries’ offices, some of which are located in historic buildings, into boutique hotels, Haaretz learned.
The idea to create a huge complex near the city’s entrance is based on the area already being Jerusalem’s main public transportation hub. The Central Bus Station is there, as is the light-rail line. In addition, a new railway line to Jerusalem and another north-south light-rail line are due to be built at some point in the future.
The plan also calls for digging a tunnel for private cars near Binyanei Hauma, and for building an underground parking lot for some 1,300 parking spaces. Above the lot, a large, eight-dunam plaza will be built for pedestrians. New buildings will be constructed for the Central Zionist Archives and the Israel State Archives.
The plan for the Zionist Archives, approved some three weeks ago, calls for a new, six-floor building, four of which will be underground. The new State Archives will consist of a research and exhibition center. The documents themselves will be relocated to a building to be built in the southern town of Arad, but the main center for browsing documents will remain in Jerusalem.
Getting a table at Machneyuda in Jerusalem, Israel’s restaurant of the moment, is no easy feat. But, as luck would have it, a friend tells me he knows one of the owners. Two days later, I’m sitting at the bar in front of the open kitchen where chef Asaf Granit hands me a cocktail made with grapefruit and arak, an anis-flavoured liqueur. The “fish tartare shackin’ up in a Baladi Zucchini” practically jumps off the menu and onto my plate. The fish is so fresh and artistically presented, it looks almost like it could have been plated by Pablo Picasso. Chef Asaf then offers me crispy egg yolk, mushrooms and spicy cream and makes me guess what spices he’s used.
There’s a lot to take in at Machneyuda besides culinary creativity. The restaurant, originally a carpenter’s shop, is decorated with eye-catching colourful ceramic tiles and filled with equally beautiful people. Two early thirtysomethings from Tel Aviv tell me, almost conspiratorially, that they drove here just for dinner. That people, hip young people, come from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to eat, is news. As the Holy City of the three monotheistic religions embraces a cool new vibe, that old chestnut about how Tel Aviv plays while Jerusalem prays might no longer be so apt. Though the city’s new frisky attitude hardly compares to Tel Aviv’s in-your-face party vibe, Jerusalem stands up on its own as a secular cultural destination in an ancient-meets-modern way.
A case in point is the new Mamilla hotel. Designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, it’s full of contemporary design hijinks. Here again, old and new combine in exciting ways. Jerusalem stone is used on the exterior and interior walls. In one corner, a round table is surrounded by 12 iconic modernist chairs – one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. And at the hotel’s rooftop bar, clients drink sunset cocktails as they look out over spectacular views of the Old City.
At the century-old Machane Yehuda market, there’s a cornucopia of sounds, colours, aromas and cultures. Old Kurdish Jews hawk pickled vegetables to Armenian monks. Second-generation Ethiopian soldiers and South African newcomers fight over the last rugelach (a kind of Jewish pain au chocolat) at Marzipan. Brazilian yeshiva students stop in for freshly squeezed pomegranate juice served by a dreadlocked blond German. French expats head to the excellent Basher’s fromagerie. And everyone, it seems, ends up at Ima for homestyle kube (meatball) soup. The sprawling market’s reach has grown, thanks to the recently launched Machne.co.il website, which offers themed tours for different types of food lovers (wine and cheese or baked goods, to name a few).
Another iconic Jerusalem establishment, the Israel Museum, is welcoming the new era with changes of its own. Israel’s premier art draw and home of the Dead Sea scrolls is feeling fresh, courtesy of a spectacular refurbishment led by museum director James Snyder, formerly with the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Included are several new commissions, like the alfresco installation by Anglo-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor, called Turning the World Upside Down. The curved steel form captures the earth and sky in its reflections, but the shape reverses them; the concept, fittingly enough, is meant to represent earthly and celestial Jerusalem.
I leave Jerusalem by crossing the elegant Chords Bridge, built by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and supposedly inspired by King David’s harp. Unveiled amid controversy (what else?) in 2008, it was the first large-scale monument to debut in the city in more than a millennium. Dubbed Jerusalem’s “first shrine of modern design” by Time magazine, it’s a bridge both literally and figuratively. As a new wave of current style settles in among thousand-year-old streets, it offers something for travellers looking for both old and new in this most storied of cities.
1. Herta and Paul Amir Building by Preston Scott Cohen, Inc.
Tel Aviv, Israel
A new building for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is – literally and metaphorically – a triangle form on a rectangular plot.
2. EYE Film Institute by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Fusing illusion and experience, the new EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam is an architectural representation of the light, space and movement seen in movies.
3. Titanic Belfast by Todd Architects & CivicArts/Eric R Kuhne & Associates
Belfast, Northern Ireland
The world’s largest Titanic experience is opening today in Belfast, Ireland – the place where the iconic ship had been designed and built.
4. OCT Design Museum by Studio Pei-Zhu
An extra-terrestrial volume appears to have landed on the site of Shenzen’s OCT Design Museum.
5. Easter Sculpture Museum by Exit Architects
Near Alicante, a renovation has infused the historic Casa del Conde home with a modern museum space.
6. Hiroshi Senju Museum Annex by Yasui Hideo Atelier
In Japanese resort town Karuizawa, a museum’s shop, restaurant and offices appear have landed in a spaceship-like structure.
7. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art by Safdie Architects
A contemporary art museum is a stunning series of wood-and-glass pavilions nestled around two ponds.
8. Xinjin Zhi Museum by Kengo Kuma & Associates
The design of a pavilion-like museum reflects the Taoist religion in its materials, concept, use of space and exhibitions.
9. Städel Museum Extension by Schneider+Schumacher Architekten
It was in early 2008 that Frankfurt-based Schneider+Schumacher Architekten won an international competition for the design of an extension of the Städel Museum.
10. Musee de la Grande Guerre by Christophe Lab
A concrete and glass fortress commemorates World War I at a 3000-sq-m museum in Meaux, France.