Haifa Firm Nabs Contract to Design Jerusalem Nature Museum

In addition to winning the contract to design and build the museum, the firm will receive NIS 60,000.

Haifa's Schwartz Besnosoff Architects and Town Planners has won the competition to design the new nature museum planned for Jerusalem, Haaretz has learned.

Out of 59 applications from Israel and abroad, five finalists were selected. Each made a presentation Monday to a jury panel. In addition to the contract to design and build the museum, the winning firm will receive NIS 60,000.

MYS Architects - Moore Yasky Sivan, based in Bnei Brak, was awarded second place, while third, fourth and fifth prize went to Tel Aviv's Peri Davidovich Architects, German architect Armand Gruentuch of Gruentuch Ernst Architekten, and the Jaffa-based o2a Studio of Amit Mandelkern and Omer Barr.

The new museum will be attached to the Bloomfield Science Museum, near Hebrew University's Givat Ram Campus. It will be funded jointly by the Jerusalem municipality, the Jerusalem Development Authority, Hebrew University and the Jerusalem Foundation. It will consist of galleries separated by open courtyards.

According to Gaby Schwartz of Schwartz Besnosoff Architects, his firm will meld the building into its natural surroundings via its low profile and green roofs. Still, a stately presence will be maintained, befitting the site in the government compound at Kiryat Le'um.

The new museum will have 20,000 square meters of floor space and incorporate sustainable building methods such as systems for reducing electricity use, producing solar energy and recycling waste and water. The project is expected to cost hundreds of millions of shekels. No dates were given for the start of construction or completion.

The museum will address hot topics in various scientific fields, the competition's organizers say. It will display the most important specimens in the Hebrew University's national nature and science collections, as well as research carried out at the university and elsewhere.