Migdal HaRakevet

If there is one name that has become synonymous with the reshaping of Jerusalem’s skyline, it’s Pei, Cobb, Freed, and Partners.

Responsible for the two towers of Mitcham Etz Chaim, Mitcham Kiach, and Benin, there will be nary a vantage point in Downtown Jerusalem from which their work will be hidden. With the recent announcement of Migdal HaRakevet, the firm expands their architectural influence to the city entrance.

Situated next door to the nearly-completed HaUma Railway Station, the building’s visage will loom above the circular opening of the transportation hub, commanding the gaze of commuters arriving from Tel Aviv via the high-speed rail.

As this building will be the first site many visitors to Jerusalem will see, it is clear that its design is meant to inspire the observer, deviating from the sharper angles seen throughout the neighborhood and even the firm’s other structures in the city.

The result is a concept not dissimilar to the twisted style of the newly completed Azrieli Sarona Tower. The sweeping edifice will stand 36 storeys above ground and will serve exclusively as an office tower, connecting below grade to the railway station beside it.

Once completed, the building will be the centerpiece of the 13 planned towers of the Jerusalem Business District, transforming the urban fabric of the area and, indeed, the city.

A completion date was not available at the time of posting.

Migdal HaRakevet

Guest Post: Understanding the Israeli Fair Rental Law

Today’s post comes courtesy of Avi Bieler from Kalpi Blog, an English-language website dedicated to providing non-ideological coverage of Israeli politics and policy.

Thanks for having me!

The editors and massive general staff of this blog asked me to break down the recently passed renter’s rights law.

In the past, I covered the first reading of this bill, so feel free to check out that piece for a basic rundown of the kind of protections that this law is enacting.

As this is a construction blog, I want to consider this law from a different point of view. Namely, that of the contractors and owner.

The law is fairly simple: Terrible apartment owners who rent out their spaces while making no effort to care for them will now be forced to meet minimum standards.

When I wrote the first article, I heard stories from people that were sad/hilarious. One owner hired a contractor to fix a toilet, took the toilet out and then… nothing. For months. But don’t worry, he gave the renter a key for another toilet down the street.

Because leaving a rental contract and finding a new apartment is complicated and the rental market is so tight, predatory land owners could get away with this behavior. This law stops that.

The consequences of laws that impact economics are as unclear as a teenager’s skin, however. In a recent example, the government slashed the price for 3-4 year preschool. Consequently, parents had more disposable income and began to use it to take care of their other preschool needs. Unsurprisingly, the price for 2-year-old preschool shot up in the process and the price of education for 2-5-year-olds only fell by 3% as a whole.

The free market giveth and the free market taketh. Blessed be the free market.

It is sensible to ask how this law will affect rental prices even as it improves rental conditions. I know that in apartments I’ve lived in, owners have stored some of their belongings in the apartment, a practice that they now must stop. Will this be enough for them to ask for more money when renting the apartment? How much money?

Additionally, I’ve had friends live in terrible apartments that were not up to the standards set by the law, but which were good enough and cheaper. Will the owners now pull these apartments from the market and decrease supply? Will they fix them up and then charge significantly more? Could this law scare investment owners from purchasing new apartments thereby affecting building contracts?

I obviously could tell you the exact answers to all these questions, but then why would you ever come back to read Jerusalem Construction News or Kalpi? In the meantime, keep on reading.

Guest Post: Understanding the Israeli Fair Rental Law

Mobileye Jerusalem Office Campus

Two months after their $15.3 billion acquisition by Intel, Mobileye has revealed plans for a new campus on Har Hotzvim. The company, which currently employs just under 700 people, expects to grow to 4,000, making the new office park crucial to their expansion goal.

Designed by Moshe Zur Architects, the project comprises a 30-storey tower and eight smaller buildings which will add 57,000 square meters of office space. The interior makes use of an open workspace design common in modern office parks, despite their questionable benefits.

Also of concern is the addition of more buildings in an area that already suffers from major traffic congestion. Of course, by the time the project is completed, construction of the blue line of the light rail, which will serve hundreds of thousands of commuters, will be well underway.

Mobileye Jerusalem Office Campus

Work In Progress #9

The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences

Construction of the newest research space at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Edmond J. Safra Campus is ramping up as the building nears completion. Once finished, the facility will be one of the leading neuroscience research centers in the world. Until then, a large crew of builders is working from morning till night to meet the expected June opening.

Work In Progress #9

Shaare Zedek Radiotherapy Center

Construction of a new radiotherapy unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center will commence in June of this year. The 7,000 square meter structure, designed by Canadian firm Farrow in collaboration with Rubenstein Ofer Architects, will complement the pre-existing cancer treatment facilities at the hospital.

The building’s shape is meant to evoke that of a butterfly – a creature that transforms within a nurturing habitat until it can finally take to the skies and soar. The striking design is far from clinical, which, of course, is deliberate.

A new wave of research that emphasizes the importance of good architecture, especially in places of healing, may be the impetus behind Farrow’s plan. The inside of the building further demonstrates this break from the norm. Light, airy, and natural, the radiotherapy center will invigorate body and soul.

Of course, there are also studies that suggest that facilities such as this can be a lucrative investment for a hospital. An enhanced patient experience can measurably reduce costs and improve outcomes. Quality amenities mean a reduced patient length of stay and a lower rate of infection.

The development of the center represents the initial phase of a comprehensive $80 million master plan for the hospital, which will add 300,000 square meters of clinical, retail, commercial, and hotel space to the campus. Once completed, the Shaare Zedek Medical Center will have not only the capacity for more world-class therapeutic and research facilities but also an open and inviting space for patients and visitors alike.

Shaare Zedek Radiotherapy Center