Bezalel Academy of Art and Design

Jerusalem, Israel | 36,500m2
Academy of Arts and design
International competition

Project Information

The Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design campus project is a bold and dynamic architectural response that provides a recognisable landmark for an institution renowned for experimentation and innovation.

Arriving here will be a unique experience, with the entrances and public spaces visible through a fractured ground plane. The project draws inspiration from the massive stone outcrops that breakthrough Jerusalem’s network of city streets and squares.

A protected view corridor is the generator of the form. Acting as a powerful force of nature, it drives through the mass of stone, splitting and deforming it. The resulting shear stone walls of Jerusalem limestone, made up of openings and fissures, define the open space. The stone resembles the excavated face of a quarry. Entrances, studios and workshops appear hewn from the massive landform. Internal spaces flow seamlessly through to the outside. Fissures are both structural and allow light to penetrate deep into the structure. Glazed openings appear as mineral seams that sparkle and illuminate the rough-hewn shapes.

Programmed spaces are clearly organised. Public and communal areas are arranged around the ground and plaza levels, while the main entrance penetrates the plaza to reach the underground principal public space. Both buildings can be reached from here, with individual departments arranged on the upper levels enjoying views across the city.

The project embodies not only a tectonic shift but a cultural one through which Bezalel aims to participate in the life of the city and to bring the academy closer to the general public. It will provide a stimulating environment where the multi-disciplinary approach of the academy will be promoted and reinvigorated.

Name: Bezalel Academy
Architects: Matteo Cainer Architects
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Programme: Academy of Arts and design
Client: Bezalel Academy
Project size: 36,500 m2 
MCA Principal: Matteo Cainer
MCA Team: Yo Murata


Jerusalem, Israel | 36,500m2
Academy of Arts and design
International competition