The Jerusalem District Courthouse

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A dull grey metal barrier has lined much of Sderot Shazar for countless years. In that time, it has become so ingrained in the landscape that it has been widely ignored by passersby and neighborhood residents. Brief glimpses through the makeshift gate indicated some activity in the past, but it was not until recently that the site has become lively. The grey barrier has been replaced by a taller white barrier along with a sign promising big changes in line with Jerusalem’s Master Plan. These changes, however, are more bold than the site lets on.

Studio PEZ, in collaboration with Zarhy Architects, has designed what is being touted as Jerusalem’s newest landmark. The competition-winning plan for The Jerusalem District Courthouse features a 40,000 sqm. structure that will house all court facilities outside the purview of the nearby Supreme Court. Characterized by its two parts – the plinth and the structures stemming from it – the building intends on challenging the monolithic construction found throughout the city and redefine how the public perceives the justice system. Taking a page from history, the building will intertwine with the urban fabric and become a central part of the area.

At street level, the continuous façade of the plinth creates a sense of transparency and welcoming. The “building blocks” atop the base each serve different functions, housing courtrooms, judges chambers, secretariats and public areas. The design allows for intuitive navigation through the structure. The angles provide optimal natural lighting and public terraces provide views of the area.

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The courthouse project represents the start of a new phase in the revitalization of the entrance to the city. Soon to stand among a sea of towers, it will be tasked with maintaining the human scale of the district.


The Jerusalem District Courthouse

The Pyramid

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Daniel Libeskind’s third, and likely final, iteration of his concept for the former site of the Eden Cinema was revealed to the public yesterday. The new pyramidal design was confirmed by the Regional Committee with two abstentions from City Council Member Elad Malka and Deputy Mayor Ofer Berkowitz.

According to the official release, “the studio chose a tapering form to allow maximum light to fall on the public plaza below and to create ample open space surrounding the structure. Referencing Jerusalem’s existing architectural language, the façade features a geometric pattern composed of Jerusalem stone and glass. The pattern and relief of the façade refer to traditional, local typologies while also fulfilling contemporary functions. At street-level, an arched colonnade connects the public plaza to the inner shopping arcade.”

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“The Pyramid mediates between ancient traditions and myths while providing a 21st-century reinterpretation of that great form,” said architect Daniel Libeskind. “The design complements the context and gives the neighborhood a vibrant public space in the heart of the ancient city.”

With construction taking place at full speed since earlier this year, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

The Pyramid

The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences

Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences 2

The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at Hebrew University, considered one of the leading centers for neuroscience research worldwide, will soon be housed in a state-of-the-art building designed to reflect the institution’s role as a world class facility.

British firm Foster + Partners, in collaboration with YBGSNA, was tasked with manifesting the center’s mission of interdisciplinary creativity and interaction. To achieve this, a 10,500 sqm. structure was designed to connect parallel wings that house 28 laboratories with ‘social hubs’ that allow for the free flow of ideas. Additional elements not commonly associated with a research institution – like an art gallery – further add to the cultural dimension of the space.

Part of the building’s demonstration of human achievement is embodied in its sustainable construction. Situated east to west, the daily solar gain is kept to a minimum. A metal screen (meant to evoke neural framework) envelopes the structure, providing shade and reducing heat. Passive cooling is supplied through a retractable plastic canopy over the atrium. A series of citrus trees and a water feature complete the microclimate.

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Additional building features include a 200-seat auditorium, a library, and a café.

With the first pieces of the façade placed, construction is well underway.


The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences