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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Israel Museum in Jerusalem by James Carpenter Design Associates

December 11th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: James Carpenter Design Associates

Designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, New York, to resonate with Alfred Mansfeld and Dora Gad’s original campus plan, the renovated campus features new visitor facilities and public spaces that allow for an integrated experience of the Museum’s art and archeology, landscape and architecture.

  • Architects: James Carpenter Design Associates
  • Project: Israel Museum
  • Location: Jerusalem, Israel
  • Groundbreaking: June 2007
  • Public Opening: July 26, 2010
  • Project Cost: $100 million
  • Design Architects: James Carpenter Design Associates, Efrat-Kowalsky Architects
  • Project Architect: A. Lerman Architects Ltd

Museum Leadership:

  • James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director
  • Isaac Molho, Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Dov Gottesman, President

Exhibition Design

  • Archaeology Wing: Pentagram Design, London
  • Jewish Art and Life Wing: Studio de Lange Design, Tel Aviv
  • Fine Arts Wing: Studio de Lange Design, Tel Aviv; Studio Oren Sagiv, Tel Aviv; Halina Hamou, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Total Funding
Completed in December 2009, the $100-million capital campaign for the renewed campus represents the largest collective philanthropic effort ever undertaken for a single cultural institution in the State of Israel. Support for the project includes:

  • More than $80 million from 20 sources, including individuals, families, and foundations from around the world and in Israel;
  • $17.5 million in matching support from the State of Israel.

New Features
The renewed campus features:

  • Three new entry pavilions, housing ticketing, information, restaurant, retail, and special event spaces;
  • An enclosed route of passage connecting the Museum’s new entrance facilities to a new gallery entrance pavilion at the heart of the campus;
  • A new three-story gallery entrance pavilion, with access to the Museum’s three collection gallery wings, temporary exhibition galleries, auditorium facilities, and its uppermost Crown Plaza;
  • Reorganized, expanded, and reinstalled collection galleries;
  • New temporary exhibition galleries.

Space Breakdown

  • New public facilities: 7,800 square meters (84,000 square feet) includes entrance facilities, enclosed route of passage, gallery entrance pavilion, and new temporary exhibition galleries
  • Renewed collection galleries: 19,000 square meters (204,500 square feet) of which half has been newly adapted for gallery use, doubling the Museum’s collection galleries
  • Total Museum footprint: 58,000 square meters (624,000 square feet) previously 50,000 square meters (540,000 square feet)
  • Campus size: 20 acres

Visitors are welcomed to the Museum through three newly constructed glass entry pavilions – housing ticketing and information, retail, and restaurant facilities. Echoing the modernist geometry of the Museum’s original buildings, these glass pavilions are shaded within cast terracotta louvered shade housings, designed to soften and diffuse the bright Mediterranean light while encouraging a dialogue between interior and exterior spaces across the campus.

Beyond these entrance pavilions, visitors may either ascend the Museum’s refurbished Carter Promenade or enter the newly constructed enclosed route of passage, situated directly below the existing Promenade. Leading visitors to the heart of the Museum’s campus, this enclosed route is a highlight of James Carpenter’s design to enhance visitor experience and clarify circulation throughout the campus. The walkway is flanked on one side by a translucent glass wall with a water feature running along its top edge, also visible from the Carter Promenade above.

This route brings visitors into the lowest level of a new three-story gallery entrance pavilion, providing centralized access to the Museum’s three collection gallery wings and temporary exhibition spaces on its main gallery floor, while also allowing visitors to reach the Crown Plaza via its top floor. Like the new entrance facilities, the gallery entrance pavilion is a glass building housed within a terracotta louvered shade enclosure and provides a visual counterpoint to the stone-clad facades of the Museum’s original buildings that house its collections.

In addition to the creation of these new visitor facilities, the Museum has concurrently reconstructed and reinstalled of all three of its collection gallery wings – for archaeology, the fine arts, and Jewish art and life – enabling visitors to navigate intuitively through its galleries, following the timeline of material culture from prehistory in the ancient Near East to contemporary art worldwide.

Highlights include: a chronological presentation of the Museum’s archaeology holdings from the land of Israel; the first permanent galleries for Israeli art; and a newly configured Synagogue Route in the heart of the Jewish Art and Life Wing.

Museum Collections
Comprising nearly 500,000 objects, the Museum’s encyclopedic collections represent the full breadth and timeline of world culture and include:

  • The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Archaeology Wing, tracing over one million years of material culture in the Land of Israel from prehistory to the Ottoman Empire. The Wing also includes The Shrine of the Book, designed by Frederick Kiesler and Armand Bartos, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and other rare Biblical manuscripts;
  • The Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing, including Western traditions from Old Masters to Contemporary Art and the Non-Western traditions of Africa, Oceania, Asia, and Pre-Columbian America, together with galleries for prints and drawings, photography, and design and architecture;
  • The Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Wing for Jewish Art and Life, featuring the sacred and secular traditions of Jewish communities throughout the world and four complete synagogue reconstructions.


In addition to the Museum’s special exhibition galleries and permanent collection wings, highlights of its campus include:

  • The Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education, offering a wide variety of programming for all audiences;
  • The Billy Rose Art Garden, an expansive sculpture garden designed by the Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi;
  • A 50:1 scale model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple period.

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