|M.Sc Student||Moscovich Hedva|
|Subject||Ben-Gurion University in the Negev: Israeli Representational|
Architecture at it's Second Phase
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Dr. Aharon Fuchs|
|Professor Alona Nitzan-Shiftan|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The design of Ben-Gurion University in the Negev is one of the most ambitious public building projects in Israel of the 1970s, and the University campus makes an elaborate statement of Israeli representational architecture of the period. This thesis examines the architectural history of the university, and proposes an interpretation to the design of this extensive and architecturally rich project.
The study begins with an account of the developments that led to the establishing of the University. It emerges that although it was an undertaking of a national scale, the University was realized thanks to the initiative and insistent lobbying of the local leadership in Beersheba. Government actions often supported and facilitated rather than initiated the developments.
The design of the campus masterplan was headed by Avraham Yaski. He envisaged the university as a continuous grid of passages and courtyards comprising a kind of mega-structure, an architectural concept that was at the time at the forefront of innovative architectural thinking worldwide. He and his associate, Yaakov Gil, later had the opportunity of realizing a fragment of this vision in the design of the Science & Engineering Faculties Wing. Another application of similar ideas was realized in the complementary Humanities Wing (architects: Reiffer, Niv and Magen), which is not discussed in the thesis.
The library was designed by Architects Nadler, Nadler, Bikson and Gil. The architects' ambition to respond in their design to the desert environment of Beersheba inspired a highly inventive roof structure, devised as a web of funnels that draw natural light into the reading hall
Ram Karmi and his associates, Ada Karmi-Melamed, Ketsaf and Peleg, planned the students’ dormitories. Their design was a bold attempt to implement contemporary ideas regarding a building as a miniature city. It marks one of the peaks of Ram Karmi’s “brutalist manner”.
The design of the various buildings expressed the architects’ take on ideas of post-war modernism and of theories prevalent in the 60s-70s in the international architectural scene, responding to post-war criticism of the mechanistic alienation of classic modernism. The structures also expressed the architects’ interpretation of the social and cultural role that the university undertook. The first buildings on the campus make perfect examples of brutalist Israeli architecture of the early seventies. Their designers have been - and still are - the most influential architects in the Israeli architecture scene.