Sunday, July 01, 2007

Israel Museum Breaks Ground for Comprehensive Campus Project

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, has launched a comprehensive $80-million project to transform and unify the facilities on its landmark campus, with the goal of increasing accessibility to the Museum’s collections and enhancing the overall visitor experience. Design of the project, the most comprehensive undertaking since the Museum’s opening in 1965, is a joint initiative of the New York-based firm James Carpenter Design Associates and the Israeli firm Efrat-Kowalsky Architects. The Museum anticipates celebrating the completion of the campus project in time for its 45th anniversary in mid-2010.

“The founding of the Israel Museum was one of the most important events following the founding of the State of Israel,” remarked Israel’s President-Elect Shimon Peres at the Museum’s International Council, which convened earlier this month. “Its renewal is central to the future of Israel. If politics are part of everyday life, the Israel Museum is part of life’s inspiration.”

The project was motivated first and foremost to enhance visitor services and facilities on the Museum’s campus, which has grown ten-fold in the past four decades, and to improve the presentation of the Museum’s encyclopedic collections, which have developed impressively since its founding in 1965. The multi-year program will create new entrance facilities, an enclosed route of passage from the front of the campus to a relocated main entrance hall with access to the Museum’s curatorial collection wings, reorganized and expanded collection galleries, and newly centralized temporary exhibition space. Overall, 80,000 square feet of new construction will be added and 200,000 square feet of gallery space will be renovated within the Museum’s existing 500,000-square-foot architectural envelope. The Museum is also concurrently working with the international design firm of Pentagram Partners, London, to renew the Bronfman Archaeology Wing, planned to provide a narrative timeline of the archaeological history of the ancient Land of Israel.